What’s the Difference Between an Uncontested and Contested Divorce?

In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree on the important issues, including (but not limited to) division of marital assets, child custody, and spousal support/alimony. As a result, the process is usually straightforward, relatively inexpensive, and won’t involve any extended litigation.

A contested divorce is different. The process is lengthier and more complex. When the two divorcing parties can’t agree on all the issues, they end up in court with a judge making the final decision. A contested divorce often involves pleadings, discovery, mediation, motions, multiple hearings, and, in some cases, a final hearing.

What You Need for an Uncontested Divorce

For a divorce to be uncontested, both spouses must agree on all the terms of the divorce at the time of filing. The terms include some potential areas of major conflict, including: 

  • Parenting plans (custody)
  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • How all property is divided
  • Allocating debts

The level of agreement needs to be quite detailed. For instance, if you plan to sell the family home, you need to agree on how you’ll pay for repairs before the sale, when the home will go on the market, and how the proceeds will be divided. 

Essentially, an uncontested divorce involves filling out the appropriate paperwork and moving it through the legal system. Spouses need to agree on everything ahead of time.

The Degree of Conflict in a Contested Divorce Could Be Minimal

If you and your spouse have reached a consensus on 95% of the issues involved in your divorce but still dispute one or two matters, your divorce is considered a contested divorce. Depending on how much time and effort it takes to reach an accord on the contested issues, the case could involve:

  • Filing pleadings in court
  • Holding temporary hearings
  • Working through one or more mediation sessions
  •  A final hearing

The contested divorce process may also involve bringing in outside experts such as financial advisors, investigators, or a guardian ad litem. When parties are not able to come to an agreement about issues on their own, the court will make the final decisions.

Get an Aggressive Advocate on Your Side with Tessie D. Edwards & Associates

The divorce process isn’t easy; we won’t lie. However, we can help you through this challenging time so that you can control navigation of the process and come out on the other side with peace of mind and a fair resolution.

Here at the law firm of Tessie D. Edwards & Associates, P.C., we’re experienced and trusted Atlanta divorce attorneys who aggressively fight for your interests. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation.

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