Whether you've been tossing around the idea of a divorce or you and your spouse are in the beginning stages of dealing with the legal process, it's important for you to understand the different ways to file for divorce. The divorce process can either be contested or uncontested, depending on your personal preferences and any potential areas of contention with your spouse. In general, if you and your spouse agree about how you'd like to handle a majority of the matters in your divorce, you may choose to file for an uncontested divorce. However, if you and your spouse are particularly contentious or if you are unable to agree about big divorce issues, you will need to file for a contested divorce.
Both the contested divorce and uncontested divorce processes have benefits and disadvantages. Depending on your situation, one of these options is likely more ideal than the other. In order to choose the best possible divorce method for your case, make sure you know everything you need to know about both methods.
The contested divorce process is the more common, stereotypical choice. In a contested divorce, each spouse works independently, presenting their case with the help of their respective attorneys before a court. In court, a judge will listen to each side, reading through pertinent legal documents and statements before reaching a decision about each aspect of the divorce. This may include matters relating to child custody, child support, spousal support, property division, and more. Even if neither party is happy with the court's decision, the judge's orders will stand.
For couples who are able to reach an agreement about some of the more central divorce issues, an uncontested divorce might be the better option. While still legally binding, the uncontested divorce process does not rely on a judge's opinions or on court appearances. Instead of pitting each spouse against one another, the uncontested divorce process focuses on finding a peaceful resolution by encouraging both spouses to work together.
Each spouse will still have his or her own divorce attorney, and they may choose to seek the help of an unbiased, third-party mediator. The mediator can help facilitate important discussions, offering resolutions and assisting with negotiations. Most uncontested divorces are handled with the help of a mediator, though couples may choose to handle their divorce without one.
In an uncontested divorce, both parties will agree to a set meeting time a place, where all matters of the divorce will be discussed and negotiated until agreements are made. This may take several meetings. However, unlike the uncontested divorce process, these meetings can be made at your own convenience, not based off of a court schedule. Once all aspects of the divorce have been discussed and both parties are happy with the agreements reached, their respective lawyers can begin drawing up the official divorce papers.
Unlike the contested divorce process, the uncontested divorce allows both parties to retain their privacy, and it can save them a great deal of money. Because the uncontested divorce process leaves meeting times up to each spouse and their lawyers, the timeline for the divorce process is almost entirely in your hands. In general, the quicker the divorce, the fewer the expenses. Also, because the process aims at finding amicable resolutions, it can help both spouses retain a healthy relationship, which benefits their children by minimizing conflict.
To learn more about the contested or uncontested divorce processes, contact the Law Office of Robert E. Luttrell III and discuss your case with our Johnson County divorce attorney.