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Contested Divorce vs Uncontested Divorce

Posted by LEISA WINTZ | Aug 07, 2023 | 0 Comments

A photo of two pairs of hands over a table. The focus is on a wedding ring on the table

Divorce is a deeply personal and life-altering decision that can bring forth a myriad of emotions, legal complexities, and logistical challenges. As couples navigate the process of ending their marriage, one crucial distinction comes into play: contested and uncontested divorce. These terms may sound straightforward, but they encompass a significant spectrum of experiences and outcomes. In this comprehensive guide, we cover contested divorce vs uncontested divorce: we'll delve into the differences between them, exploring their meanings, potential timelines, considerations for contesting a divorce, and the key steps involved in each. Whether your journey leads to contested or uncontested divorce, knowledge is your most powerful tool for navigating this challenging terrain. L

What is a Contested Divorce?

In a contested divorce, the parties involved are unable to reach an agreement on essential matters such as child custody, division of assets, alimony, and other key aspects. This type of divorce is often marked by a higher level of conflict and requires legal intervention to resolve the disputes. A contested divorce can arise from a variety of factors, including differences in financial expectations, parenting philosophies, or even emotional tensions that have escalated over time.

What is an Uncontested divorce?

Conversely, an uncontested divorce unfolds when both spouses are in mutual agreement on all significant issues pertaining to the dissolution of their marriage. This harmonious alignment allows for a smoother and less adversarial process, often resulting in reduced stress and expenses. An uncontested divorce doesn't necessarily mean that emotions aren't involved; it signifies a willingness to collaborate and find common ground for the sake of a more straightforward legal procedure.

Contested Divorce vs Uncontested Divorce: Is It Worth Contesting?

The decision to contest a divorce is deeply personal and should be made with careful consideration. Contesting a divorce may be worthwhile if you believe that your spouse's claims are unfair or inaccurate, or if your priorities and rights aren't adequately represented in the proposed settlement. However, it's important to recognize that a contested divorce can prolong the process and lead to higher legal fees. Weigh the potential benefits against the emotional and financial costs before taking this route.

How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take?

When a divorce becomes contested, it initiates a series of legal steps. These typically include filing a divorce petition, responding to the petition, gathering evidence to support your claims, negotiating with your spouse (often through attorneys or mediators), attending court hearings, and potentially undergoing a trial. The timeline for a contested divorce can vary widely, ranging from several months to several years, depending on the complexity of the issues and the willingness of the parties to cooperate.

What Steps Are Involved in an Uncontested Divorce?

Opting for an uncontested divorce doesn't imply a lack of complexity. The process involves reaching a comprehensive agreement on matters such as child custody, division of assets, spousal support, and other key issues. Once an agreement is reached, the spouses can jointly file for divorce, presenting the court with their mutual decisions. While the uncontested process generally moves faster than a contested one, it's essential to ensure that the agreement encompasses all necessary legal considerations.

As you navigate the complexities of divorce, seeking guidance from a qualified family law attorney can be invaluable. A knowledgeable attorney can help you comprehend the legal implications of contested and uncontested divorce, guide you through the necessary steps, and advocate for your rights and priorities. Whether you're considering contesting a divorce or pursuing an uncontested path, having an experienced attorney by your side can provide clarity, support, and a smoother transition into the next chapter of your life. At Family Matters we have the experience to make sure that everyone goes in the best  interest of the family. Contact us today and schedule a consultation to find out how we can help you!

About the Author


Leisa Wintz originally began her career as a marriage and family therapist. Ms. Wintz went on to attend law school and started practicing family law in 2009. However, she quickly realized that many family law practices lacked the empathy and compassion she believed were necessary in order to achi...


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