What is a Contested Divorce: Contested vs Uncontested Divorce

When it’s about to divorce your partner, you may hear about some legal terms regarding the type of your divorce. Some divorces are considered “contested,” while some are uncontested. Here, I am going to discuss what is a contested divorce and at what point it is different from an uncontested divorce.

what is a contested divorce

What is a contested divorce?

A contested divorce is one in which the two parties cannot agree on one or more fundamental issues, such as child custody, property division, or spousal support. As a result, the case goes to trial, and a judge or jury makes the final decisions. This divorce can be costly and time-consuming, particularly if the two parties have significant assets or complex financial arrangements.

The issues that are typically contested in a divorce are

  • child custody
  • child support
  • alimony
  • property division.

If the parties cannot agree on any of these issues, their divorce will be contested in court. Both parties will have to hire attorneys, and the divorce will take longer and be more expensive.

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce is where both parties agree on all the terms, such as the division of property, child custody, child support, and alimony.

In some states, the couple may be required to attend mediation before filing for divorce. The mediator will help the couple resolve any outstanding issues. Once the couple has reached an agreement, they will sign a settlement agreement. The settlement agreement will be filed with the court.

The court will then review the agreement to make sure it is fair and equitable. If the court determines that the deal is reasonable, it will be accepted. Here the court will issue a final decree to end the marriage officially.

The divorce will be denied if the court concludes that the contract is unreasonable. Here, the couple will have to go to trial and let the judge decide on the terms of their divorce.

Since both parties have already agreed on the terms of the divorce, an uncontested divorce is typically quicker and less expensive than a contested divorce.

The difference between contested & uncontested divorce

The primary distinction between a contested and an uncontested divorce is that the spouses may not agree on all of the terms of their split in a disputed divorce. In contrast, in an uncontested divorce, they can.

In a contested divorce, the parties must go to court, and a judge will rule on their divorce. The following are some of the most common issues in a divorce: child custody, child support, alimony, and property division.

If both parties sign the necessary paperwork and no minor children are involved, an uncontested divorce can be finalized in as little as 30 days after the filing. However, if minor children are involved, the divorce cannot be completed for at least six months.

In some cases, an uncontested divorce may turn into a contested one if one party changes their mind about the divorce terms. For example, if one party decides that they do not want to sign the settlement agreement, then the divorce will become contested.

Uncontested divorces are typically much less expensive and stressful than contested divorces because they do not require a trial and can be handled through mediation or collaboration.

If you are considering a divorce, you must speak with an experienced family law attorney who can help you understand your legal options.

How long does a contested divorce take in California

4 Reasons to Contest a Divorce

While it may not be the most amicable way to end a marriage, sometimes divorce is inevitable. However, just because your spouse wants a divorce doesn’t mean you have to go along. There are several reasons why you might want to contest a divorce, including:

To save your marriage:

You may not be ready to give up on your marriage. If you still have strong feelings for your spouse, contesting the divorce may allow you to work things out.

Further, if you believe your spouse is only asking for a divorce because they are angry or upset, contesting the divorce may give them time to calm down and reconsider.

To protect your assets:

You want to protect your assets. A divorce can have a significant financial impact, and you may wish to contest the divorce to protect your assets. For example, if you have substantial equity in your home, you may want to contest the divorce to keep your home.

You don’t think that the divorce is fair. Even if there are grounds for divorce, you may not feel the divorce terms are reasonable. For example, if you believe your spouse is unfairly trying to take advantage of you financially, you may want to contest the divorce.

To get custody of your children:

Losing child custody is trauma to every parent. You may want to contest the divorce to get custody of your children. If you are worried about what will happen to your children if they live with your spouse, contesting the divorce may give you a better chance of getting custody.

To make it lengthy:

You don’t want to rush into a decision. Divorce can significantly impact your life, and it’s essential to make sure that you’re making the right decision. If you’re unsure whether you want to go through with the divorce, contesting the divorce can give you more time to decide.

What is a contested divorce? How would the process be? You can still divorce her. This discussion will guide you more:

4 Questions Answered on What is a Contested Divorce

What happens in a contested divorce?

A contested divorce occurs when the husband and wife cannot agree on one or more aspects of their divorce, such as property division, child custody, or alimony.

If the couple cannot agree through mediation or other means, they must go to court and have a judge decide these issues. This can be lengthy and costly, as each spouse will need to hire an attorney and present their case to the court. In some cases, a trial may even be necessary.

Because of the potential for conflict, a contested divorce is often more stressful than an uncontested one. However, it is essential to remember that each situation is unique and that there is no one-size-fits-all answer regarding divorce.

Is it worth contesting a divorce?

The short answer is: it depends. There are various factors to consider, such as the strength of your case, the financial cost, and the emotional toll that is contesting a divorce can take.

When deciding if it’s worth contesting a divorce, one must weigh all of these factors carefully. If you have strong evidence suggesting that your spouse has been unfaithful or is abusing drugs, it may be worth contesting the divorce. Additionally, if you have children and wish to retain custody of children, this could also be a compelling reason for contesting the divorce.

However, there are costs associated with contesting a divorce. Legal fees can add up quickly, and the process can be emotionally draining. If you are uncertain if the case is strong enough or cannot afford to pay for a lawyer, contesting a divorce may not be worth it.

You may also want to contest a divorce if custodial issues are at stake. If you believe you should have primary custody of your children, you may want to fight for this in court.

Contesting a divorce can be expensive and stressful, so it is essential to carefully consider all potential consequences before deciding. If you are unsure whether it is worth it to contest your divorce, you should speak with an experienced family law attorney who can help you understand your rights and options.

How long does a contested divorce take?

A divorce is contested when the couple cannot agree on terms such as child custody or property division. These cases take longer to finalize because a judge must decide on these outstanding matters. The time it takes to obtain a contested divorce varies depending on the jurisdiction and the case’s complexity. In some instances, a contested divorce can take several years to resolve.

However, in other cases, it may only take a few months. If you are involved in a contested divorce, seeking legal advice from an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the process faster is vital.

How much does a contested divorce cost?

The cost of a contested divorce can vary widely depending on various factors, such as the complexity of the case, the jurisdiction where the divorce is being filed, and the attorneys’ hourly rates.

In general, a contested divorce tends to be more expensive than an uncontested divorce because it involves more time-consuming and contentious legal proceedings, such as discovery, depositions, and court hearings.

According to a survey conducted by Lawyers.com, the average cost of a contested divorce in the United States is approximately $15,000. Still, it can range from $10,000 to $30,000 or more, depending on the circumstances of the case.

However, it’s essential to remember that these are just estimates, and the actual cost of a contested divorce can vary widely depending on your case’s specific facts and circumstances. It’s always a good idea to consult with a qualified divorce attorney in your jurisdiction to better understand the potential costs involved in your particular situation.

Final Thoughts

So, if you are considering a divorce, you must speak with an experienced family law attorney who can help you understand your legal options. You may want to contest the divorce for several reasons, including saving your marriage, protecting your assets, or getting custody of your children.

However, you should make sure that you are making the right decision before going through with a divorce. Deciding to contest divorce is not easy and will undoubtedly be a long and stressful process. You should only proceed if you are confident in your decision.

About Shakir Ahmed

Head of the editorial team. I hold a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from UoL. Written hundreds of articles on divorce, child custody, employment and other human rights law topics for blogs and websites worldwide. Worked 6 years as a relationship development trainer. For any communication regarding any legal matter, please feel free to email me at shakir@lawyersnlaws.com

Leave a Comment