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What Is the Difference Between Contested & Uncontested Divorce?

The process of getting divorced has changed considerably over the last several decades. At one time, divorce was largely seen as something to hide or be ashamed of. Then we started to see the emergence of divorces that were often bitter and contentious. In recent years, however, we have seen trends shift toward preserving family ties and splitting amicably.

No matter what type of divorce you may be going through, however, it will fall into one of two categories: contested or uncontested. Knowing the difference between these two can give you some idea of what to expect from your divorce going forward.

If you and your spouse are relatively amicable and have the same goals for what you want to preserve in a divorce, you would likely pursue an uncontested divorce. Basically, this means that you generally agree on the big issues and may be able to work through the legal process together and without going to court. You may resolve your differences through mediation or collaboration to seek a mutually agreeable settlement.

However, if you and your soon-to-be ex cannot see eye-to-eye on one or many of the big issues you are facing, you could be headed for a contested divorce. This can happen when spouses are very angry or bitter toward each other or in cases where there are significant assets on the line. In these cases, coming to an agreement yourself can be all but impossible and these complicated issues may need to be resolved in court.

Uncontested divorces can help people minimize the time, money and effort it takes to finalize a divorce. Contested divorces can ensure that disputes are resolved in a lawful, fair manner even or especially when the disputes center on complex issues.

Keep in mind that every divorce is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all resolution. Too many people think of divorce this way which can make it very difficult to know what you can realistically expect in your own divorce. You may not truly understand your options or what you stand to gain or lose until you discuss the specifics of your situation with your attorney.

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