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Contested vs. Uncontested Divorces

There are two types of divorce in Alabama: uncontested divorce and contested divorce. To do what is best for your situation, it is important for you to understand what these are and how they differ from each other. Below, we have outlined a few of these key differences for you. 

Uncontested divorces allow you to make the major decisions regarding your divorce.

An uncontested divorce in Madison County is where both spouses are able to come to an agreement on the settlement terms regarding all of their marital issues. These issues will typically include things such as alimony, division of property, finances, and child custody. When a couple is able to come to an agreement to these terms on their own, they are able to minimize the involvement of local Anniston divorce attorneys, courts, and judges.  Uncontested versus Contested Divorces

When a divorcing couple is unable or unwilling to come to an agreement on any or all marital issues, the divorce is considered a contested divorce. Contested divorces can be very unpredictable making it difficult to do these on a flat fee basis. Getting a contested divorce does not always require going to a trial in front of a judge. Many contested divorces are settled out of court through court-ordered mediation, settlement negotiations between the lawyers or the parties, or during the divorce proceeding itself. However, if the parties are still unable to come to an agreement on every aspect of their divorce, then it will fall to the judgment of the court to complete this work for them.

Uncontested divorces tend to be faster.

Uncontested divorces are typically the quickest way to get divorced in Alabama. Without the need for extensive courtroom involvement, getting a divorce decree for an uncontested divorce will typically take between six and ten weeks. Contested divorces, on the other hand, typically have several stages that need to be completed before the divorce is finalized and can take anywhere from a few months to a year or longer. It is important to note that the amount of time it takes to finalize any divorce will depend on the complexity of the case and the ability of the two parties to come to an agreement. Generally speaking, the sooner you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement, the sooner your online divorce can be filed and finalized.

Uncontested divorces are less costly.

Uncontested divorces are the easiest way to get a cheap divorce in Alabama. Generally, the only fees that are involved with uncontested divorces are attorney fees and court filing fees. Currently, at the Harris Firm LLC we charge a flat rate for attorney fees for uncontested divorces. In more complex uncontested divorces that require additional work of the divorce attorney, you should expect to pay slightly more. More complex cases may include things such as property concerns, tax considerations, business interests, paternity issues, and retirement issues among other things. However, even with these additional fees, an uncontested divorce will still be less costly than a contested divorce.

Due to the unpredictability of the contested divorces, they are generally not offered on a flat fee basis. Instead, your attorney will charge you a retainer up front and your attorney will bill out of that retainer at an hourly rate. These retainer fees can be thousands of dollars depending on the law firm that you choose and the complexity of your divorce case. 

While all of this information may feel intimidating, we are here to ensure that you have the necessary tools and support to make the most informed decisions. If you are considering a divorce in Shelby County, or anywhere else in Alabama, then set up a consultation with us today so that we can help get you going in the right direction.

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