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Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

Although every divorce case comes with its own problems and advantages, your case will be one of two things: contested or uncontested. So, what’s the difference?

Uncontested Divorce

Stated most simply an uncontested divorce is when BOTH parties agree to the material terms of the divorce. This includes child custody, child support, alimony, division of debts, division of assets and attorney’s fees. Most people want to end the marriage as “uncontested” because proceeding this way is typically emotionally and financially less costly than the other option.

Once all the terms are agreed upon, the spouses (usually through their attorney’s) can draft a fair and equitable divorce agreement and file the required paperwork in court. Is important to note, that even in an uncontested case it is highly recommended to have an experienced divorce attorney assist in reaching an agreement and drafting and reviewing the  agreement to ensure fairness and avoid costly future litigation if modifications are needed. It is also important to note that many material terms are not legally modifiable once final. In other words, you will be stuck with the agreement you entered so it is extremely important to fully understand the legal implications of your agreement with your spouse before signing anything.

Contested Divorce

A Contested Divorce is when parties cannot agree, on the grounds of the divorce or the terms, such as the division of assets, allocation of debts, alimony, child support, or custody of children.

Not all contested divorces require a final hearing or trial. Often couples will begin the process as contested divorce and then, through help of their attorneys, reach an agreement. This is called a settlement. If you and your spouse cannot come to some type of agreement your case will eventually be set for a final hearing before a Judge or Jury.

If the spouses can’t reach an agreement prior to a final hearing, each lawyer will use legal precedent to construct an argument about what his or her client is entitled to. Then a trial will take place, during which the lawyers will present the case with information favorable to their client.

If you have decided to pursue a divorce and are unclear as to whether or your case will be contested or uncontested, or you have any other questions, schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. Call (770) 422-4241 or email