Uncontested Divorce vs. Contested Divorce

Divorce is a complicated process and a stressful time for everyone involved. It can be painful for the couple and have long-term emotional impact on the children. However, sometimes divorce is the only solution because the relationship just doesn’t work. There are two ways to handle a divorce and both of them can be challenging. Couple can choose to separate after reasonable negotiations in an amicable or they can take their argument to court and let the judge settle it. The former is called an uncontested divorce while the later is a contested divorce.

Legal experts and counselors encourage people to consider uncontested divorce because they are less stressful. The parties involved will have a better time adjusting to the separation and all of the changes that come with it. This article provides a brief look at both kinds of divorce proceedings, which can help any separating couple.

Factors to consider in a divorce

There are several factors to consider in a divorce but five of them are the most important and can have a big impact on the proceedings. In an uncontested divorce, the couple involved must come to an agreement on all five of these points. In a contested divorce, the couple can’t come to an agreement and require intervention from the court. These points are:

  • Agreement to divorce – The separation is mutual in most divorce cases but in many, one party is unwilling to agree to a divorce. In such a case, the matter must be presented to the court for resolution. If the couple agrees to separate as a mutual decision, the divorce can be considered uncontested.
  • Division of marital property – A couple can own assets together and these assets need to be divided sensibly between the two. In an uncontested divorce, a couple will come to an agreement about property ownership. In some cases, one spouse will purchase the assets by paying for the other spouse’s share of the asset value. Sometimes the asset is dissolved and the money is split between the two. In a contested divorce, the couple can’t come to an agreement about the division of property and assets, the court has to intervene.
  • Division of debt – Couples purchase properties together, share their names on mortgage, personal loans, etc. The couple shares the responsibility of paying off this debt and must decide who will pay what during the divorce proceedings. During an uncontested divorce process, the couple arrive at an acceptable solution to divide debt between them. In a contested divorce proceeding, this often a point of contention.
  • Custody of children – Custody of children is the most important factor to consider during a divorce proceeding. Children need a healthy and safe environment, especially after a divorce. Most parents agree to a joint custody or primary custody with visitation rights. It’s important to handle custody arrangements carefully so the children have support from both parents, which is more likely in a uncontested divorce.
  • Payment of child and spousal support – Raising children is expensive, especially if one parent is responsible for it and must rely on their income to provide what the child needs. Child support can help ease the financial burden and ensure the child doesn’t lack essentials like food, clothing, shelter, education, and some personal entertainment items. Some spouses choose to be stay-at-home parents and need financial support after the divorce until they can get a job and start earning sufficient income. Both of these factors are discussed during the divorce proceedings.

More to Consider

No divorce is truly without contention as the couple will disagree on a number of different matters. In an uncontested divorce proceeding, these arguments and disagreements are settled through negotiations outside the court.

  • Uncontested divorces are less volatile – The case isn’t taken to court and there are no accusations flying around in public platform. All negotiations are carried out privately in the presence of lawyers who can act as mediators. While occasional arguments and problems can happen, the couple is more likely to reach a fair agreement in an uncontested divorce process.
  • An uncontested divorce is better for children – In contested divorce proceedings, children are stick between two angry and quarreling parents, which can have a big impact on their emotional health and stability. It’s easier for them to handle the change if parents sit down and handle the negotiations carefully. The uncontested divorce negotiations also help reduce hostility between the couple, which can help provide a stable environment to the children.
  • Contested divorces are long and expensive – There are court fees, lawyer fees, and other related expenses attached to a contested divorce. These cases are longer and can easily last for months. That means a couple has to pay the lawyer’s fees for an extended period of time, deal with court dates and personal schedules, and other such problems. In an uncontested divorce, the couple can carry out negotiations themselves and then call a lawyer for paperwork, or call the lawyer for negotiations and get through them quickly.

No divorce is a pleasant experience and there are a lot of emotions involved in the process. An uncontested divorce can lighten the burden by a considerable margin and benefit all parties involved. It can also have a positive impact on the relationship between the separating couple and help ensure they part as friends or non-hostile acquaintances. This is especially important if there are children involved because children can benefit from positive presence and influence of both parents, even if they’re separated.

An experienced and honest lawyer can be of great help during this time. They don’t just offer legal expertise and support, but they also provide a new unbiased perspective on negotiations. While an uncontested divorce doesn’t always require the assistance of an attorney, it’s a good idea to get advice from them during the process. All contested divorce proceeding require an attorney because self-representation in court is the fastest way to lose a case.