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What's the Difference Between Contested & Uncontested Divorce?


One of the most important decisions you make when filing for divorce is whether to pursue a contested or uncontested divorce. How you file for divorce can significantly impact how much time, money, and stress it takes for you to resolve the dissolution of your marriage. Today, we're covering the differences between uncontested and contested divorce so you can make the right choice for your case.

At Gille Kay Law Group, P.C., we can help you pursue an optimal outcome in your divorce case.

To schedule a consultation with experienced lawyers you can trust, contact our office online or via phone at (626) 340-0955.

Contested Vs. Uncontested Divorce

At this point, you may be wondering what the biggest difference is between contested and uncontested divorce.

If you and your partner disagree on how to handle one or more aspects of the divorce (property division, alimony, child and spousal support, etc.), then you need to file for a contested divorce.

Alternatively, if you agree with your spouse on terms for the divorce, then you can file for an uncontested divorce.

Frequently, spouses initially file for contested divorce and then transition into an uncontested divorce as they negotiate terms and have more time to think about their goals. Many spouses use a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as mediation, to compromise with one another and transition from a contested to an uncontested divorce.

What Are the Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce?

Filing for an uncontested divorce has a multitude of benefits:

  • You have more say in the outcome. In a contested divorce, courts will sometimes decide terms for the divorce on behalf of the parties if they can't reach an agreement. In contrast, when you file for an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse set the terms. That means you have more direct control over the outcome and don't have to worry about bias from the court playing a role in the case.
  • It costs less. Uncontested divorce often costs thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars less than a contested divorce since it happens out of court and you can avoid court fees. Uncontested divorce also tends to resolve more quickly than contested divorce, reducing the expenses needed to finalize the divorce. You can use the money saved on your divorce to provide a better quality of life for yourself post-divorce.
  • It's more amicable. Since filing for an uncontested divorce relies on you agreeing with your partner, it tends to be more amicable than a contested divorce. Whether you share children, work together, or just want to remain friends, an amicable divorce can make your life a lot easier in the long run.

What Are the Benefits of a Contested Divorce?

While many divorcees (and courts) prefer it when a couple can achieve an uncontested divorce, filing for a contested divorce also has benefits:

  • The court protects you throughout the divorce. If something like domestic violence plays a role in the divorce, having the court present throughout the stages of the divorce can help ensure both parties stay safe and receive the legal help they need.
  • You can fight for your rights. A contested divorce culminates in a trial, during which your attorney can display evidence and bring forth witnesses. Filing for a contested divorce can help you present the evidence you need to secure a certain outcome in your divorce, such as obtaining sole custody of your child.

A reputable attorney can help you make the right choices as you navigate the divorce process.

To schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney, contact us online or via phone at (626) 340-0955.

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