In Alabama there are two types of divorce, contested and uncontested divorce. Depending on your situation and the difficulties involved, one option might be more appropriate for you and your spouse than the other. This article will discuss the major differences between the two so that you can determine what type of divorce is right for you and your spouse.
- The relative difficulty of the two processes
An uncontested divorce is a simple way to get a cheap divorce in Montgomery or wherever you live in the State of Alabama. It is quick and easy since both parties are in complete agreement on everything. However, the work involved in a contested divorce can be fairly extensive. Some of the tasks involved in a contested divorce include
- Preparing, filing, and serving the divorce petition to your spouse
- Responding to the petition
- Hiring a Montgomery divorce attorney
- Going through the discovery process
- This includes gathering information about individual assets through subpoenas and depositions
- Pre-trial motions and hearings
- Settlement proposals and attorney negotiations
- Prep and completion of trial proceedings when settlement talks fail
- Dealing with appeals if you and your soon to be former spouse disagree with the judge’s decisions
With an easy uncontested divorce, much of the work can be completed between spouses, and with minimal involvement of their attorneys. The significant areas that they need to work on are the division of assets, alimony, child custody and support, and other similar issues. This is one of the main differences between contested and uncontested divorces. In a contested divorce, the lawyers do all of the negotiations instead of the spouses.
- Involvement with courts and judges
From the initiation of the divorce process to the settlement stage, if couples are not in agreement with one another they will have to deal with repeated visits to the courtroom. Courts will deem a divorce as contested, and not uncontested, when couples can’t agree on the major issues of their divorce, if one spouse wants a divorce while the other does not, or if one spouse wishes to file a fault-based divorce and the other wants to file using the state’s no-fault designation.
With an uncontested divorce, court visits are kept at a minimum, to the extent that paperwork needs to be filed with the court clerk and the judge signs off on the divorce when all agreements and paperwork have been satisfied.
- Having a judge make decisions for you vs. reaching an agreement between yourselves
As previously mentioned, a contested divorce is where couples cannot agree on how to settle the major areas of their divorce. This includes but is not limited to alimony, division of property, child custody, and child support. When couples cannot come to an agreement on one, several, or all of these issues, then it will fall to the judgement of the court to complete this work for them.
For couples pursuing an uncontested divorce, they are able to work these issues out between themselves, or with the assistance of a divorce attorney or mediator. This process is usually completed early on, but it can take some time to resolve matters.
- The speed with which you get your divorce decree
A divorce decree is the court order that officially declares the termination of your marriage. Without the need for extensive courtroom involvement, getting a divorce decree for an uncontested divorce can take anywhere from six to ten weeks. Most of the work involves filing paperwork by certain deadlines, which makes things go much faster. Getting a divorce decree for a contested divorce can take as little as a few months to as long as a few years. This time differential between contested and uncontested divorce comes down to how much time is spent with attorneys and in the courtroom.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, probate, and real estate closings on this website. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply feedback. We appreciate our readers & love to hear from you!