Two of the most commonly misunderstood terms related to divorce in the United States today are “contested” divorces and “uncontested” divorces. The difference between the two types is usually measured in time and money, with contested divorces being the most difficult and expensive. Contested divorces are often caused by the hurt feelings and pain surrounding the termination of a marriage and resulting disagreements over difficult issues like property division and child custody. When a couple cannot reach an agreement on key issues even with representation of their attorneys, a contested divorce is likely to become a bitter and costly affair.
Conversely, a divorce is uncontested when both parties can agree on the issues related to the termination of the marriage. An uncontested divorce doesn’t have to be a particularly friendly affair, but it will allow disputes to be resolved outside of the courtroom. An uncontested divorce usually offers a much better experience for everyone involved and is always less costly than litigation in divorce court. An uncontested divorce can also occur in situations where one spouse fails to respond to the action or appear in court at all.
Situations involving infidelity can often make people so angry they are unwilling to negotiate, ruling out any possibility of an uncontested divorce. If a couple ends up fighting every time they talk, it might be impossible to work things out without the help of a divorce attorney. In cases where there is open hatred between the divorcing couple, they will have to communicate through counsel instead of discussing the conditions directly with one another. If there has been abuse or violence in the marriage, direct communication will almost always be impossible. Divorces involving large amounts of property and wealth cannot always be satisfactorily resolved outside of the court. They can present financial complexities that are too difficult to navigate without the aid of professional counsel and are not good candidates for uncontested resolution.
An uncontested divorce might be the preferred method of ending a marriage, but factors like child custody battles, alimony arguments and other on-going support issues can often make the assistance of legal counsel inevitable. If you are unsure about whether or not you should seek an uncontested divorce in your own specific case, it is always a good idea to consult a qualified divorce attorney to see what your options are before you initiate the divorce process. Even if you ultimately decide to handle your own divorce without counsel, a single initial legal consultation is never a bad idea if you can afford it.