The Difference Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce

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April 22, 2016

DivorceOnly fifty years ago divorce was a taboo occurrence that most couples avoided, if unhappily. Today’s societal norms have significantly shifted to accept divorce as a regular occurrence that happens to people from all walks of life. However, that doesn’t mean that the process of divorce is any easier or more pleasant.

Every divorce, amicable or otherwise, must address four core issues: division of debt, division of property, spousal support, and child custody. Every aspect of divorce has the potential to get messy, so it’s important to consider whether your divorce would fall under the category of contested or uncontested.

Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce in Tampa is the best case scenario, or as good as the dissolution of a marriage can be. If you and your soon-to-be-ex can agree to the four core issues without any major disputes, it’s possible to finalize the conditions of the divorce without needing to go to trial. In addition to being easier to handle emotionally, uncontested divorces cost much less in legal fees.

Contested Divorce
Many divorces, however, begin as contested divorces, meaning that spouses cannot agree to the terms of the divorce and require legal intervention to determine the ultimate conditions. It’s actually very common for contested divorces to evolve into settlements before the divorce reaches court. Settlement means that both spouses agree to certain terms in order to end litigation and finally move on.

A truly contested divorce attorney Tampa that reaches trial involves extensive complexities. Contested divorces are usually very emotional and stressful because they require so many technical legal procedures that normally wouldn’t play a part in decision-making. When a divorce does enter court, a judge is responsible for making all of the decisions involving marital property, debts, child custody, and child support. Since it becomes each spouse’s attorney’s responsibility to fight against the other, contested divorces become messy and can damage already strained relationships.

Because of this, Tampa divorce lawyers suggest seeking uncontested divorces or settlements and work with their clients to try and arrange divorce conditions with the least amount of hostility.