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The Difference Between Contested & Uncontested Divorce

There are two primary types of divorce: "contested" and "uncontested." While most people have a general idea of what divorce is, few know the important difference between these two different types, and this means that they often mistakenly try to file for the one that isn't right for them, especially when they don't have a Murrieta divorce attorney helping them out. On this blog, we'll explain the important differences between these two types of divorce and help you recognize which one is your best option. 

CONTESTED DIVORCE

This is what most people think of when they think of the word "divorce." In an uncontested divorce, both spouses can't come to a mutual agreement on every aspect of their separation, and they need the courts to get involved and resolve the issue.

It's important to note that contested divorces don't always have to be long, nasty, and contentious affairs filled with dramas and hours and hours in front of a family law judge. In fact, the majority of contested divorces really only have one or two major points of contention that the court helps them resolve. While they certainly can turn ugly, that doesn't mean they have to. You can still have a civil divorce and disagree on what you think is best in terms of child custody, visitation, property division, and other aspects of your separation.

A contested divorce is more common, but usually the more expensive and drawn-out type of divorce. You'll have to pay court fees, extended legal costs, and many other expenses associated with these cases, but for some people these are simply the better option when other methods of dispute resolution have failed.

UNCONTESTED DIVORCE

Few people even know that uncontested divorce is an option, and for those who wish to resolve their divorce and move on with their lives quicker, this may be the ideal solution. An uncontested divorce is one where there are no contested provisions or agreements, and therefore you don't need to appear before a judge to litigate any unresolved disputes. As a result, you usually only have to appear before a judge one time to confirm the terms of your divorce and have them reviewed, which means you'll save money and time on this process.

An uncontested divorce is difficult to qualify for. As mentioned previously, you and your spouse must agree to all of the provisions of your separation, including property division, child custody, visitation hours, spousal support, child support, and any other special requests or provisions. If you disagree on even a single one of these provisions and can't come to a resolution on your own, you'll be forced to flip to a contested divorce and litigate this final provision before your case can be finalized. This can have far-reaching consequences, including possibly further-altering provisions you had initially agreed on.

As a result, of the difficulty of these cases, they're not often pursued. Usually only younger couples with fewer assets to their name and who haven't been married for very long will pursue them as they have little in the way of community property to divide and often don't have children to determine custody of. However, even longer-lasting marriages may still be able to take advantage of this option so long as both spouses can come to a fair and mutually-beneficial agreement. For these couples, it's strongly advised you also try utilizing a divorce mediation or negotiation strategy that allows you to come to this agreement outside of court. This enables you to still file for an uncontested divorce while maybe not agreeing to everything right up front.

Couples who pursue an uncontested divorce often save themselves an abundance of time, money and stress. While you will still be required to wait the state-mandated six months before your divorce can be finalized, you'll pay less in court fees and legal expenses, which leaves more money in your pocket for when your divorce finishes. Couples who complete this process often harbor less resentment or negative emotion towards their former spouses as well, which leads to a happier independent life.

To find out more about uncontested divorces, contact Westover Law Group today by dialing (951) 643-0085 and ask for more information from our Murrieta divorce attorneys.

 

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