What is the Difference Between an Uncontested Divorce and a Contested Divorce

Generally speaking, there are two types of divorces, contested and uncontested. The former tends to be more expensive, both financially and emotionally, while the latter is cheaper and more cooperative. In this article we will look at some of the specific differences between the two with the hope that this context can determine what is right for you in your divorce proceedings.

Defining Uncontested and Contested Divorces

With an uncontested divorce, couples are able to come to an agreement on a number of major issues without the need for extensive legal advice, mediation, or court time. The major issues that typically require resolution are alimony, child custody, division of property, and any debts carried by the parties. Now, it might not be possible for couples to agree completely on all of these, which will require legal assistance and mediation, which should not take too much time. The fact that couples can largely avoid these procedures, especially court visits, means that the divorce will be relatively inexpensive. What is the Difference Between an Uncontested Divorce and Contested Divorces

One area of mediation that can be avoided is determining child support, since Alabama already has guidelines in place to set the amount for child support. Of course, if the couple wants to establish a different amount, they can do that. It is best to talk to a local divorce attorney in Tuscaloosa or wherever you live in Alabama before deciding on an agreed upon amount.

Contested divorces are more complicated, more laborious, and more expensive than uncontested divorces, since those couples have a greater need for mediation. The major issues outlined above cannot be agreed upon, requiring additional consultations from the attorney and time spent before a judge who will assist in the decision-making process. Whether the disagreement is based on one issue or several, it will be considered a contested divorce.

Time and Investment in Uncontested and Contested Divorces

As mentioned above, in a Shelby County uncontested divorce couples are able to avoid spending time before a judge since they have made the decision-making process themselves. In this way they will avoid court costs which can be very expensive. State courts have to be involved to a point, to the extent that the couple’s paperwork must be filed in order to have the divorce recognized in Alabama. Thankfully, the couple’s mediators can take care of that work for them.

The work involved in a contested divorce is much more extensive, since one or both spouses are disputing some area of the divorce. The time and labor involved in a contested divorce includes the following:

  • Preparing, filing, and serving the divorce petition
  • Responding to the petition
  • Hiring the right divorce attorney
  • Having to go through the discovery process — that being information gathering about resources and other factors, and involving questionnaires, subpoenas, and depositions
  • Pre-trial motions and hearings
  • Settlement proposals and negotiations between attorneys
  • Preparation for and completing trial proceedings
  • Going through any appeals if there is a disagreement with the judge’s decisions

The financial difference between contested and contested divorces is rather stark. Going for an uncontested divorce can cost less than $1,000, while a contested divorce can cost upwards of $10,000 or more by the end of it.

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