Unfortunately, a large percentage of marriages still end in divorce. This is a stressful time for all involved, and the inclination is the get things over with as quickly as possible.
That is understandable, but you also want to ensure the best possible outcomes when getting divorced. This involves expertly navigating the complex legal system and understanding concepts like contested vs uncontested divorce.
This article explains the differences between these two scenarios. It will help you determine which applies to your circumstances so that you will know what to expect moving forward. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce is where both parties have settled on terms for divorce. This includes child custody and support, as well as division of assets and alimony.
In most jurisdictions, this requires filing a “joint petition for divorce.” This is a formal recognition that both spouses acquiesce to the terms. An uncontested divorce does not involve a trial, but can still take some time to finalize, depending on the jurisdiction.
What Is a Contested Divorce?
As you may have guessed, a contested divorce is where there is a dispute over the terms. In these cases, a judge will render a final decision about the case. You can expect a contested divorce to take much longer than an uncontested one.
A contested divorce can revolve around the decision about whether to get divorced in the first place. A judge will not require a couple to stay married. But one spouse can resist putting forward terms, which will require a court to determine the outcome.
While it may be unavoidable in some situations, a contested divorce is riskier for both parties. That is because the terms of the divorce are left in the hands of the judge.
This means they could prioritize the concerns of one spouse over the other. The judge could require assets to be sold, or make determinations about child custody that are beyond the wishes of either party.
The good news is that spouses do have to argue their case themselves but can rely on a divorce lawyer. It is easy to see how having an adept attorney can be a huge benefit for either party.
Another thing that distinguishes contested vs uncontested divorce is that, like most other court decisions, one party can appeal the outcome of a contested divorce. (Since both spouses consent to the terms of an uncontested divorce, it is not appealable.) This is another reason to retain the legal expertise of an experienced family law attorney.
Learn More About Contested vs Uncontested Divorce
Now that you understand the difference between contested vs uncontested divorce, you can determine which applies to your circumstances. An experienced attorney can further advise you on what options you have and how best to proceed.
At Miller Zeiderman, we understand that a divorce or other family law issue can be one of the most difficult times in your life. Our team of dedicated and experienced attorneys will provide you with personalized representation, acting in your best interest but seeking the best possible outcome. Reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation.