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Understanding Contested VS Uncontested Divorce

If you’re getting a divorce from your spouse, or know someone going through this difficult process, you may have heard the terms “contested” and “uncontested” divorce. The big question is: do you know what these two words mean, and why it’s important to understand the difference? Here is some insight from an experienced divorce lawyer who can help you to navigate this rocky situation.

The Difference Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is a process wherein both spouses agree on all the terms of the divorce, have resolved the issues and ready to finalize those terms in writing.  This is accomplished by developing a Marital Settlement Agreement which addresses and resolves all the issues in your divorce.  If the parties are able to reach a mutually acceptable agreement, a simple Divorce pleading is filed, which advises the Court that the issues have been resolved and all that remains for the Court to do is grant the parties a final Judgment of Divorce.  The case is then moved onto an uncontested docket and the Court process is then significantly streamlined moving the case through expeditiously and quickly. Certainly this path is much better and makes the divorce process much easier, cheaper, and quicker.  

In contrast, a contested divorce occurs where the spouses disagree on the divorce terms. One spouse files the divorce documents with the help of an attorney, who’ll then serve the papers to the other party. In contrast, a contested divorce occurs when the parties are unable to agree on the resolution of issues. Whether they are fighting over custody, child support, alimony, division of marital property and all other issues involved in their divorce, if they are unable to amicably resolve the issues between themselves, the Court must then do it for them. This means the matter is in “litigation” and the process can be tedious, long and expensive.   

While its always best to initially attempt to reach an amicable resolution and solve the issues between yourselves by using mediation, collaboration or through discussions between counsel;  sometimes a mutual agreement is just not possible. In this event, the case is placed on the “litigation” docket and the process moves forward through the Court. This process can be complicated and formal, therefore a very skilled divorce attorney is essential to ensure success.

How Divorce Works, as Explained by a Divorce Lawyer

The Process of Uncontested Divorce

The spouse who wants a divorce hires a divorce lawyer to draft the divorce documents. Both spouses review all the documents and agree to all the terms in the agreement. That may include child custody and child support, alimony, and the division of assets and debts. A judge then reviews the agreement. Upon approval, the court offers a final divorce decree.

The Process of Contested Divorce

As mentioned above, it’s a much more complicated process when one spouse hires a divorce attorney to file divorce documents with the court. The lawyer then serves the divorce documents to the other spouse, giving them notice of the divorce. The recipient of the documents has 21 days to respond, and if they don’t, then the divorce will be automatic. As the divorce case opens, both spouses must fill out a financial disclosure form (FDF) or a 16.2 disclosure of their tax returns, bank statements, and pay stubs.

Next comes the scheduling of a case management conference (CMC) 90 days after filing divorce documents. It’s likely to be the first court hearing, and the judge will make temporary orders such as the custody of the kids and child support.

The next step is opening the discovery. Divorce attorneys representing each spouse can request documents from the other party and hold depositions. Both divorce lawyers can use the discovery to gather evidence for the upcoming trial, where both sides will provide supporting documents and present witnesses to testify on their behalf. Afterward, the judge will review the evidence and make a final ruling before the final divorce decree.

Do You Need a Divorce Lawyer?

Divorces evoke anger, betrayal, depression, and even denial all at once. However, there’s something to make the process a little easier. If you’re currently going through a divorce or have been served divorce papers, contact ZM Law Group for a divorce lawyer who will be in your corner. We’ll gladly help you out as you go through this trying period in your life and see you through to the other side.

The Difference Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is a process wherein both spouses agree on all the terms of the divorce, have resolved the issues and ready to finalize those terms in writing.  This is accomplished by developing a Marital Settlement Agreement which addresses and resolves all the issues in your divorce.  If the parties are able to reach a mutually acceptable agreement, a simple Divorce pleading is filed, which advises the Court that the issues have been resolved and all that remains for the Court to do is grant the parties a final Judgment of Divorce.  The case is then moved onto an uncontested docket and the Court process is then significantly streamlined moving the case through expeditiously and quickly. Certainly this path is much better and makes the divorce process much easier, cheaper, and quicker.  

In contrast, a contested divorce occurs where the spouses disagree on the terms, such as dividing business in divorce. One spouse files the divorce documents with the help of family law attorney, who’ll then serve the papers to the other party. In contrast, a contested divorce occurs when the parties are unable to agree on the resolution of issues. Whether they are fighting over custody, child support, alimony, division of marital property and all other issues involved in their divorce, if they are unable to amicably resolve the issues between themselves, the Court must then do it for them. This means the matter is in “litigation” and the process can be tedious, long and expensive.     

While its always best to initially attempt to reach an amicable resolution and solve the issues between yourselves by using mediation, collaboration or through discussions between counsel;  sometimes a mutual agreement is just not possible. In this event, the case is placed on the “litigation” docket and the process moves forward through the Court. This process can be complicated and formal, therefore a very skilled family law attorney is essential to ensure success.

How Divorce Works, as Explained by a Divorce Lawyer

The Process of Uncontested Divorce

The spouse who wants a divorce hires a divorce lawyer to draft the divorce documents. Both spouses review all the documents and agree to all the terms in the agreement. That may include child custody and child support, alimony, and the division of assets and debts. A judge then reviews the agreement. Upon approval, the court offers a final divorce decree.

The Process of Contested Divorce

As mentioned above, it’s a much more complicated process when one spouse hires a divorce attorney to file divorce documents with the court. The lawyer then serves the divorce documents to the other spouse, giving them notice of the divorce. The recipient of the documents has 21 days to respond, and if they don’t, then the divorce will be automatic. As the divorce case opens, both spouses must fill out a financial disclosure form (FDF) or a 16.2 disclosure of their tax returns, bank statements, and pay stubs.

Next comes the scheduling of a case management conference (CMC) 90 days after filing divorce documents. It’s likely to be the first court hearing, and the judge will make temporary orders such as the custody of the kids and child support.

The next step is opening the discovery. A divorce attorney representing each spouse can request documents from the other party and hold depositions. Both divorce lawyers can use the discovery to gather evidence for the upcoming trial, where both sides will provide supporting documents and present witnesses to testify on their behalf. Afterward, the judge will review the evidence and make a final ruling before the final divorce decree.

Do You Need a Divorce Lawyer?

Divorces evoke anger, betrayal, depression, and even denial all at once. However, there’s something to make the process a little easier. If you find yourself searching “divorce attorney near me” because you’re currently going through a divorce or have been served divorce papers, contact ZM Law Group for a divorce lawyer who will be in your corner. We’ll gladly help you out as you go through this trying period in your life and see you through to the other side.

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