When most people think of divorce, they imagine a long and arduous process full of conflict and bitterness. However, this is not always the case. In some instances, divorces can be relatively smooth and amicable.
But what is the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce? Let’s take a closer look.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
When both parties can’t agree on one or more issues, such as division of assets and debt, child custody, child support, and spousal support, it is considered a contested divorce.
In contrast, If parties have already agreed on all issues, then the divorce is considered uncontested. To file for an uncontested divorce, both parties must sign and file a marital settlement agreement with the court. If the court finds it is fair and equitable, it will approve the agreement and issue a final divorce decree. However, if the court finds that the agreement is unacceptable, it will send the parties back to negotiations to reach a resolution.
An uncontested divorce saves time, money, and stress for both parties involved. In addition, uncontested divorces tend to have a lower level of conflict, which can benefit any children involved. If the parties can communicate and cooperate with each other, they may be more likely to reach an agreement that is fair and agreeable to both sides.
While uncontested divorces are often cheaper and faster, there are certain benefits to a contested divorce.
- It helps to ensure that both parties are fairly represented. If one party feels they are not receiving fair treatment, they can hire an attorney and take their case to court.
- The judge will make sure that all assets are appropriately divided. In an uncontested divorce, both parties may be tempted to overlook certain assets to save time and money. However, in a contested divorce, both parties are required to list all of their assets and negotiate a fair distribution.
- A contested divorce can also help to protect the rights of both parties. For example, if one spouse is asking for alimony or child support, a court will review the case and make an unbiased ruling based on what is just.
- It allows the court to consider all of the evidence before making a decision. This can provide peace of mind for both parties knowing that the court has considered all relevant factors before ruling.
While no one likes the idea of going to court, a contested divorce can sometimes be the best option for ensuring an equitable outcome.
Whether you are considering a contested or uncontested divorce, the legal process is complex. If you live in San Jose or the greater Bay Area, our attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri can help you with your case. Our team of lawyers has years of experience in family law and divorce litigation.