Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce

Learn Which Option is Right for You

Are you currently facing divorce in South Florida? The divorce process can be ugly and contentious at times, but it does not always have to be that way. Breaking physical ties with your spouse can create deep hurt feelings and emotional trauma, which makes it difficult to resolve the difficult issues that arise out of divorce. When creating a divorce agreement, you and your spouse will have to settle matters regarding child custody, child support, alimony and the division of property.

From here the divorce process can go one of two ways. If you and your spouse are able to be civil and reach an amicable agreement regarding these issues, then the process will go quicker and smoother. Unfortunately, that is not always the case- if you both are unable to negotiate and resolve these matters then the court will have to intervene and the case becomes a bit more stressful.

Uncontested Divorce

With an uncontested divorce, the spouses need to be able reach an agreement on every term and condition in their divorce. In an uncontested divorce the spouses do not necessarily have to be friendly and warm to each other, but they are able to resolve their divorce issues outside of court without the assistance of a judge. If mediation becomes necessary, the parties can utilize a neutral third party member to help them work through disputes. Once all of the divorce matters are agreed upon, they must be put down into writing, into what is referred to as the "divorce agreement."

With an uncontested divorce, it would still be wise for both parties to obtain their own legal representation so that they have an assertive legal advocate there to provide guidance and answers. A Broward County divorce attorney from my firm could then draft the divorce agreement for you and ensure that the proper language is used on the legal forms. If you and your spouse drafted the agreement, then would definitely be in your best interest to have your attorney review the legal contract so that you can feel confident that your rights are fully protected.

One major benefit to filing an uncontested divorce is that you and your spouse have more control over the terms and conditions of the agreement- the issues are not being decided by a judge on your behalf. Once the agreement is drafted, it still needs to be approved by the court. The court will then schedule a final hearing date when they will review the proposed agreement and grant the divorce, for which only one spouse has to attend this final hearing.

Contested Divorce

In the event that one or both spouses are unable to reach an agreement on the terms of their divorce, then they will have to file for a contested divorce. With cases of this nature, emotions are running high and the two parties are unable to agree, so they take the matter to court for a judge to decide upon unresolved family issues.

Contested divorce cases are typically more complicated and time consuming than an uncontested divorce. This is because the parties have to wait to attend the court hearings and they may even end up in a full blown trial over these matters. The contentious issues that divorcing parties have trouble with are matters of custody, support, property, debts, assets and alimony. Who will the children live with? How will the property be divided? Who has to pay child support or spousal support? If these issues cannot be resolved, then you will need an aggressive attorney to fight beside you in court and who will submit evidence to support your requests.

In some cases, the parties in a contested divorce are able to settle and agree after just one or two court hearings and the case does not have to go to trial. If not, both parties will have to pay trial litigation fees and the divorce will end up costing them more. So if at all possible, try to pursue an uncontested divorce in order to save yourself time and money. By avoiding trial, you may be able to diffuse some emotional tension and the scars of battling it out in court.

How a Broward County Divorce Lawyer can Help

If you are unsure of the route your divorce will take, do not hesitate to schedule a free case evaluation with an attorney at my firm. I have over a decade handling divorce and family law cases and I could help you achieve the most desirable outcome in your case. To learn more about the differences between contested and uncontested divorce, contact Lindsay A. Feldman, P.A. today. I proudly serve families in Miami-Dade and Broward County, Florida.

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