Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce: What’s the Difference?

Every divorce deals with difficult issues, and has some level of disagreement. But what is the difference between contested vs. uncontested divorce?

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce is one where both spouses generally agree on issues related to the separation and don’t have to go to court. It is typically the easiest and most cost effective type of divorce.

Relationships that work well for uncontested divorces include those:

  • With few assets and no children.
  • Where couples agree on division of assets, child custody, and support issues.

While an uncontested divorce may seem pretty straightforward, it’s still important to have the help of an experienced divorce attorney who can help you review and file all of the paperwork involved. Your attorney will also make sure that your rights are protected in the process.

Relationships that do not work well for uncontested divorces include those:

  • Involved physical or emotional abuse
  • Where child abuse is or was present
  • Where a spouse is suspected of hiding assets or income
  • When one or both spouses are attempting to alienate affections of the children

When these types of issues are present in a marriage, one spouse may try to manipulate the other. A fair agreement is unlikely to come from such a situation.

What Is a Contested Divorce?

A contested divorce is one where spouses do not agree on one or more issues in the separation. Heavily contested divorces are the most difficult and can be both time-consuming and costly.

Your attorney can negotiate with your spouse’s attorney to seek a fair outcome for everyone involved. But you’re having a difficult time agreeing on the details, you may need outside intervention to resolve things. You will need an experienced divorce lawyer to present your case before the court.

Although some people choose to go through a divorce without an attorney, this is not recommended for contested divorces. You may opt to use an attorney who offers limited scope representation, where they will help with specific areas instead of an entire divorce proceeding.

What to Issues Are at Stake in Divorce?

Regardless of whether you are moving forward with a contested vs. uncontested divorce, you will have to consider the following issues:

  • Child Custody: California courts favor joint physical and legal custody. Although you may be able to make an agreement with your spouse regarding child custody, if the court handles the situation, it will be split evenly if that is in the best interests of the child.
  • Child Support: The court will determine how much child support will be paid by which parent. Generally, child support payments are based on amount of time spent with a child, earnings, number of children, tax filings, health insurance expenses, day care costs, and special needs of children.
  • Asset Division: California is a community property state, so all assets earned during the marriage are divided equally.
  • Debt Division: Debts are considered community property. Thus, they are also divided equally.

Call a Fresno CA Divorce Lawyer Today

If you have questions about your divorce or how to navigate a contested vs. uncontested divorce, call the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks. We can help you minimize the stress involved in the process.