There are often several considerations to be taken when a couple decides to divorce. These could have to do with things like debt and asset distribution, alimony or spousal support, child support, custody, visiting rights, and other things. An uncontested divorce occurs when a couple is able to settle all of the significant issues prior to trial. On the other hand, a divorce is considered contentious if the couple cannot agree on one or more important issues. A divorce may be disputed at first, but when the parties resolve their differences, it may become uncontested.
Let’s take a look at what makes contested and uncontested divorces so different, and why those differences matter. If you are going through a regular dissolution of marriage, your divorce will fall into one of these two classifications. Understanding the key differences between a contested and uncontested divorce can help you better prepare for your own case, as they both have their processes that must be understood before going forward.
Contested vs Uncontested Divorces
An uncontested divorce or a contested divorce would be the result of a regular dissolution of marriage. In each scenario, just one spouse—the petitioner—appeals to the court for a divorce. The responder is the opposite spouse.
The petitioner spouse will file for divorce with the clerk of court and have the documents served to the respondent spouse after demonstrating lawful residency in Florida and that the marriage is irretrievably shattered. The respondent spouse is then expected to provide the court clerk with a written response to the documents.
In an uncontested divorce, both parties must sign a marital settlement agreement, also known as a divorce settlement, which resolves all problems pertaining to shared assets, shared liabilities, and shared minor children from the marriage. Even if you and your spouse have no property together, both of you must sign a financial affidavit within 45 days of serving the divorce papers. The final divorce hearing must be attended by at least one party.
Contrarily, in a contested divorce, spouses are unable or unwilling to reach an agreement over the distribution of marital assets, joint debt, or matters pertaining to minor children from the marriage. After one spouse files for divorce and the other responds, both parties will go on trial before a judge, who will rule on all matters pertaining to their case. The final hearing or trial must be attended by the petitioner’s spouse. You should obtain legal counsel if you require this kind of divorce.
In essence, the length of time it takes for a divorce to be finalized is the main distinction between contentious and uncontested divorces. Uncontested divorces typically go rather fast. However, depending on your state and courtroom, “fast” in terms of divorce could still take a lengthy time. Additionally, a trial, discovery, or other time-consuming legal processes are not necessary for an uncontested divorce. Therefore, compared to a disputed divorce, the cost of legal expenses will be significantly lower in an uncontested divorce.
What are Some Other Differences Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce?
The degree to which the outcomes are appealable is another distinction between divorces that are disputed and those that are not. The parameters of an uncontested divorce are not subject to review because both parties agree to the agreement. The parties are not, however, bound by the agreement indefinitely. Depending on your jurisdiction, you might be entitled to revise the agreement if the situation changes considerably or if a certain amount of time has elapsed. The parties are more likely to be pleased with the proceedings’ conclusion since they are the ones making the decisions.
The final decision-maker for the couple in a contentious divorce that does not reach a settlement is the judge. The court may decide to give some issues more weight than others, which may not always be in line with the couple’s preferences. For instance, while keeping the property may be highly essential to one partner, the other spouse could want to acquire the automobile. A judge can, however, order the sale of the home and the transfer of the automobile to the other spouse. It is more probable that spouses will reach an agreement that they can both live with the more control they have over the process.
Even while an uncontested divorce has advantages, it is occasionally impossible to reach a consensus with your ex-spouse on crucial issues. Remember that these agreements do not have to be reached only by the couples. The parties may be able to reach an agreement that finally addresses their differences by consulting with experienced divorce lawyers and maybe considering mediation.
A Jacksonville Beach Family Law Attorney Who is Dedicated To Your Needs
Are you looking for a Jacksonville divorce lawyer? Then you must be aware of Griffin Family Law, PLLC’s practice in divorce law. Our knowledgeable, competent divorce attorney promises to offer you specialized litigation services that are tailored to your unique situation. You may be confident that, at the conclusion of your divorce case, you will have achieved your desired outcome by using our highly trained legal services.
When it comes to family law and divorce cases, there are a lot of stakes. The most important aspects of your personal life— your family, your financial stability in the future, and your livelihood— are on the table. Because there are so many factors at play, you need to choose an experienced divorce lawyer in Jacksonville to defend your interests. If you’re in need of a Jacksonville Beach family law attorney who will fight for your needs during a divorce, get in touch with the team at Griffin Family Law, PLLC by calling (904) 344-5093 today.
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