06.28.2024 Newsletters Doerner

What’s the Difference Between Uncontested and Contested Divorce?

difference between contested and uncontested divorce

Did you know a contested divorce can take years to resolve? Why would you want to go that route if that’s the case? And what is the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce anyway? 

Divorce is complicated. It can be even more complicated when you can’t agree on certain matters. That’s why we’re focusing on simplifying your divorce choices, so you understand where to start. 

What Is a Contested Divorce?

As a function of the legal system, all divorces are adversarial, i.e., contested, proceedings. This means your divorce case is, by default, a contested divorce. You will have the opportunity, however, many times during the pendency of your divorce to resolve your case by agreement. If you and your spouse are unable to agree on key issues, your case will be resolved in court through an application of the rules of procedure, rules of evidence, and the law of your home state.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

During an uncontested divorce, you’re able to agree on key issues. Uncontested divorces can often be completed using alternative dispute resolution methods, like mediation. This type of divorce requires open communication and a willingness to compromise. 

Understanding Uncontested Divorce Benefits.

Since an uncontested divorce typically involves less time spent in court and fewer legal fees, it can be a more affordable option compared to a contested divorce. Another benefit of an uncontested divorce is how long it takes to finalize it.

Without waiting for court dates or negotiating through attorneys, couples may reach a resolution quicker and move on with their lives sooner. This expedited process can help reduce emotional strain and provide closure faster.

An uncontested divorce often allows couples to maintain more control over the outcome of their case. Individuals have more say in shaping their post-divorce arrangements by working together amicably to reach agreements on important issues such as child custody, spousal support, and asset division.

Finally, the collaborative nature of an uncontested divorce promotes better communication between divorcing spouses. Parties are encouraged to cooperate rather than engage in courtroom battles in an effort to find mutually beneficial solutions that prioritize everyone’s best interests.

When Is a Contested Divorce Needed?

Contested divorces are common in situations involving complex financial matters or significant disagreements about parenting arrangements. In cases where one spouse is uncooperative or unwilling to negotiate in good faith, a contested divorce might become necessary. Legal representation is crucial during any divorce proceeding to protect your rights and interests.

How Can a Lawyer Help with Both Types of Divorce?

An attorney can provide support and guidance in both contested and uncontested divorces.

For uncontested divorces, a lawyer can help ensure that all necessary paperwork is completed accurately and filed correctly with the court. They can also facilitate communication between you and your spouse to reach agreements on the issues presented in your case.

In contested divorces, a lawyer becomes essential in advocating for your best interests in and out of the courtroom.

Know the Difference Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce.

The difference between a contested and uncontested divorce is the ability to agree on key issues. While an uncontested divorce is simpler, it’s not always an option. 

Doerner is a full-service law firm in Oklahoma known for helping with complex legal issues. Since 1896, we’ve understood that building valued and trusted relationships matters. Contact us to discuss your case.