Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce

You and your spouse have been fighting for quite some time now. You no longer get along with each other and you both agree that it is time to end the marriage.

There is no need to seek revenge. You do not want to fight about assets in court. You just want to get the divorce over with and move on.

Unlike what you may see on TV, you do not have to divorce in court. You do not have to face a judge and discuss your marriage in a courtroom. You can resolve your differences outside of court and negotiate a settlement on your own terms.

This is called an uncontested divorce. In this type of divorce, you may use collaboration or mediation to come to an agreement. You and your spouse may also compromise and negotiate on your own.

Uncontested divorce has many benefits. It is cheaper and less time-consuming, since you do not necessarily need to have a lawyer involved, although you can. You can control the outcome of your divorce. You and your spouse can decide on an agreement that meets your needs, rather than having a judge who knows nothing about your situation make the final decision. An uncontested divorce is also more confidential, so you do not have to worry about your personal details being made public.

In Florida, you may even qualify for simplified dissolution of the marriage. All you have to do is fill out the documents correctly and appear before a judge to finalize your divorce. However, there are some restrictions. You cannot have any minor children, you must have lived in Florida for the past six months, there must be no alimony involved, you both must agree that the marriage is broken and you both must have agreed to the division of assets and debts.

Even if you have children, you can still opt for an uncontested divorce. This will no doubt be easier on the children. Not having to see their parents fight all the time is better for children psychologically. Children desire as much routine as possible and do not like to see their parents being bad-mouthed.

However, there are some downsides to an uncontested divorce. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on certain issues, then mediation could just prolong the process. You may end up having a contested divorce anyway. Also, if one spouse is an abuser or likes to exert power over the other, then they will try to swing the negotiations in their favor. This is not how an uncontested divorce works. In addition, an uncontested divorce requires each party to put in a bit more work. If they are unwilling to do what it takes to avoid going to court, then it may be better to go to court.

What is a Contested Divorce?

When the spouses constantly fight and cannot come to an agreement on the terms of their divorce, then it becomes contested. This means they will have to hire their own attorneys and fight it out in court.

A contested divorce is a good option when the parties cannot compromise. If there is abuse involved, going to court allows each party to talk freely without fear. A hearing in court can help ensure your voice is heard without giving the impression that the parties are adversaries. There is no bias in the courtroom. The judge will hear both sides of the story and make a fair decision. You can fight for your rights. You can also cover your bases and take the contested route, but you can change your mind later if you decide you want to try for a settlement. This means you will be prepared, no matter what happens.

However, a contested divorce has some disadvantages, as well. It is a lengthier process than an uncontested divorce, which means it is also more expensive. Also, having to fight it out in court can be exhausting. If you do not know your spouse’s intentions, it can cause you to be more anxious. In addition, you are allowing a judge to make your decisions for you. The judge knows nothing about you or your relationship. They just know what you and your spouse told them and they may not make the best decision for you and your spouse. You both might be angry about the decision, whereas if you could have talked about it, you could have come up with an agreement that would have benefitted both of you.

Which is Right for Me?

The right type of divorce for you will depend on your situation. An uncontested divorce would be the best choice if you and your spouse have agreed to divorce amicably without animosity. If, however, you cannot get along with your spouse and come to an agreement on anything, then you may have to choose the contested route. There are pros and cons for each type of divorce, so take those into consideration and talk to a lawyer who can help you better understand your options.

Seek Legal Help

While an uncontested divorce may seem like the ideal situation for a divorcing couple, sometimes it is just not possible. Both parties need to be willing to compromise and negotiate.

How hard do you want to fight? What are your options for a fair divorce? Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can help you with your divorce, whether you want to settle or go to trial. Call (954) 346-6464 and schedule a consultation today.