Uncontested vs. Contested Divorces
At the heart of every divorce are four issues:
1. Division of community and/or marital property
2. Division of debt
3. Custody of any children
4. Payment of child and/or spousal support
While no divorce is truly "uncontested" in the sense that there are no disagreements, these disputes do not always have to be resolved in court. That's what we mean by an uncontested divorce - one where the spouses can reach a decision as to the terms of the divorce without going to trial. Uncontested divorces move more quickly through the courts and are less expensive than contested divorces.
Every couple seeking a divorce should first attempt to work out mutual terms for the separation without going to court. If the spouses cannot resolve disputes on their own, many people utilize arbitration and mediation, with or without attorney representation. This saves time and money by bypassing the lengthy litigation and trial process. An uncontested divorce typically reduces hostility, allowing both parties to resume their lives more quickly.
Complex issues, high financial stakes and technical legal procedures are the marks of contested divorces. While an uncontested divorce can often be performed without an attorney, litigation often makes experienced counsel necessary for a contested divorce. If one spouse is represented by an attorney or there are difficult financial issues, seeking an attorney may be wise.