What is the Difference Between a Contested Divorce and Uncontested Divorce? Divorce, also known as the termination of a marriage or marital union, can be a very difficult and trying situation. If you’re considering going through the process of a divorce it’s important to know the two types of divorce: contested and uncontested. An uncontested divorce is one in which both parties agree to all terms of the divorce. A contested divorce is one in which the parties cannot agree on the terms of the divorce and must go through the entire divorce process to get a judge to make the final decision.
The uncontested divorce is done by filing a joint petition for divorce. The contested divorce is accomplished by filing divorce papers and then serving them to your spouse. Online divorces are easier and much less expensive because the couple agrees on all issues related to the divorce such as alimony, division of property/assets, child support and custody. Contested divorces take much longer and are more costly because you must proceed through the divorce process until the judge makes a final decision, or the parties finally reach a settlement. An uncontested divorce in Madison County is quicker and much cheaper because there are no court hearings.
A spouse cannot prevent the other spouse from getting a divorce, but they can prolong the divorce process by not agreeing to the terms of the divorce. Either your partner must agree with the terms of the divorce proposed by your divorce lawyer and/or working with his/her own divorce attorney, or the case must go to trial for a judge to make the final decision. If both parties can agree on all issues involved in the divorce such as child custody, property/asset division and alimony, then a fast divorce can be filed.
The basic process for an uncontested divorce is to hopefully be able for both parties to agree on a joint petition for divorce. This is where the petitioner of the divorce and the respondent agree to the divorce terms. They then file the joint petition together and that then goes to the judge for the divorce order to be reviewed and signed. An uncontested divorce is the quickest way to get a divorce, but both parties must agree about everything.
In contested divorces, the couple has a disagreement on individual or all aspects of the terms of the divorce. This can be a disagreement over child custody or support, alimony, debt allocation and more. A contested divorce can also result from one spouse refusing to accept the divorce all together. It’s very common for a couple to begin the process with a contested divorce but eventually reach an agreement before the case must go to trial.
Most couples reach a settlement before the case goes to trial. If a settlement is reached before the case goes to trial then a Birmingham divorce attorney draws up the agreement. Once the agreement is signed by both parties it then becomes a legally binding contract. If an agreement cannot be reached and the divorce case goes to trial it is never advised that a spouse represent themselves in court. There is an old quote to remember that goes as follows, “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” This is truly the case if one spouse has legal representation and the other spouse does not.
At first glance, due to the difference in costs, a Tuscaloosa County uncontested divorce seems like the best option. However, in some cases, a contested divorce is the only option. For example, if there was a prenuptial agreement or significant assets, the process can be quite complex and very hard to decipher without legal help. Also, if the couple is not on speaking terms and they have children, then an uncontested divorce may actually be the quicker option.
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!