contested and uncontested divorce

Understanding the Differences Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce

In Family by Greensboro Attorney

Divorce is one of the most challenging situations you could find yourself in, regardless of the circumstances surrounding it. Aside from the emotional and mental issues, there are legal issues you have to face depending on the nature and cause for the divorce. It is crucial to understand the two types of divorce that impact how you can legally address the situation. This guide will explore what contested and uncontested divorce means and what legal steps you should take. 

What is Contested Divorce?

What does it mean to have a contested divorce? It occurs when one or both parties in a divorce case cannot agree on the issues involved in the dissolution of their marriage. As a result, they go to trial to allow a judge to decide on these issues for them. 

A contested divorce is a situation that any divorcee wouldn’t want to find themselves in. It is a long and tedious process, not to mention it can be highly stressful physically, financially, and emotionally for those involved. Pursuing a contested divorce is a costly legal process, so you need a reputable and experienced divorce attorney in NC to handle your case. 

Here is an overview of the legal processes involved in a contested divorce:

  • Prepare and serve the divorce petition.
  • Respond to the petition.
  • Work with an attorney for the divorce discovery.
  • Pre-trial legal motions and hearings.
  • Settlement proposals and negotiations.
  • Trial (if the previous step failed and no agreement is reached).
  • Court trial.
  • File an appeal (if you want to dispute the judge’s decision).

Due to the lengthy process, as explained above, most couples do their best to reach an agreement on matters surrounding the divorce case.

It requires several months of collecting evidence, negotiations, and numerous court appearances. The trial can take several days, which is a considerable investment of time and effort.

It also means that a contested divorce could impact your personal life in more ways than a divorce already has. It takes time away from your family and thousands of dollars in attorney fees. But why would anyone want to pursue a contested divorce? Here are some reasons: 

  • When both parties cannot agree on how to divide their marital assets between them.
  • When one party refuses to pay for spousal support.
  • When both parties are fighting for child custody.
  • When both parties do not agree on how to execute the prenuptial agreement.
  • When both parties can’t agree on the grounds for divorce.

When the other party contests the divorce, you can take legal action to achieve your desired outcome. Hiring an attorney is the first step, as they can offer legal advice on navigating the complications of the divorce case. You can also attempt to negotiate with the other party and aim for a mutually beneficial outcome. 

If you come to an agreement, you must file the agreement legally so it can be executed. If not, gather evidence to support your case, should you go to trial. 

Legal processes involved in a contested divorce. 

What Does Uncontested Divorce Mean?

An uncontested divorce is when both parties or former spouses agree on all divorce-related issues. However, each state has specific legal requirements that all divorced couples must comply with before proceeding with an uncontested divorce. You must look into those requirements or hire an attorney who knows the divorce laws in your state to help navigate this process with ease.

While you have legal requirements, it is still a more straightforward process than a contested divorce. It will require a shorter process of gathering evidence, negotiations, and court appearances. It means that an uncontested divorce entails less emotional and mental stress and lower legal fees. 

An uncontested divorce is also a healthier way to dissolve a marriage, which means there is no animosity between the spouses. It is crucial when you have children in your marriage because you want to maintain that good relationship with your children. 

An uncontested divorce means you mutually agree on divorce-related issues, such as spousal support and child custody. The financial and child-related issues are usually the source of disagreement among spouses in a divorce. When you agree on those issues, you can avoid the legal battle that could take months or years to settle. 

If you aspire for an uncontested divorce, but the other party is not cooperating or communicating, you can ask for mediation. Mediation is a voluntary process, so the other spouse must agree to this process. During mediation, a neutral third party facilitates divorce-related issues to help both spouses reach an agreement.

Once you have an agreement, you present it to the court, and a judge will sign it to be executed legally. But if it is contested by the other spouse, it will be revised before being sent to the judge for resolution. 

Uncontested divorce means you mutually agree on divorce-related issues

Why Do You Need to Work with a Divorce Attorney?

An uncontested divorce is a dream scenario for anyone going through this process. However, it is a rare occurrence since the decision to file for divorce already means you disagree on things in the relationship. Working with a qualified and experienced divorce attorney in NC will help overcome any issues that arise during the divorce process. And if issues do arise, they will ensure you can take the legal action that is most favorable to you.

Whether you want to resolve a disagreement with a former spouse or seek mediation, you can benefit from having a specialist divorce attorney in a divorce case. Use their knowledge to work things out and avoid a stressful divorce. Any investment toward an attorney is still more cost-efficient than facing this legal battle independently or going through the stress of the divorce.