Divorce - Contested v. Uncontested

If you are divorcing, your divorce will be either "uncontested" or "contested." Your divorce will be uncontested if you and your spouse agree on each and every relevant issue, such as who will have custody of the children, how you will divide your assets and debts, whether one spouse will pay alimony to the other, etc. If you and your spouse disagree on any relevant issue, your divorce will be contested. Ideally, you will want your divorce to be uncontested for several reasons:

1. An uncontested divorce can be final within 6-8 weeks; a contested divorce can last a year or longer.

2. You will not have to appear at any court proceedings in an uncontested divorce, whereas you will have to attend several court proceedings if the divorce is contested.

3. A contested divorce will cost thousands of dollars more than an uncontested divorce.

4. In an uncontested divorce, the parties generally leave the relationship on amicable terms since their divorce is based on an agreement they reached together, and is not the product of a judgment issued against them by a Family Court judge.

5. A contested divorce will be harder on the children, as they will be subjected to the stress and strain of the prolonged litigation. Even though you'll surely do your best to avoid involving the children in the dispute with your spouse, the children will certainly be aware of the struggle between the two of you, and they'll feel caught between Mom and Dad. This could irreparably damage the children's relationship with one parent or both, and it may cause emotional scars that the children will carry into adulthood. Sadly, there are many instances of children who turned to drugs, alcohol, and even self-harm because they could not cope with the emotional damage caused by their divorcing parents. Thus, the sooner the struggle ends, and the more amicable the dissolution of the marriage, the easier it will be on the children.

The two keys to obtaining an uncontested divorce are working in good faith with your spouse and being open to compromise. You should determine what you need - as opposed to what you want - and then be willing to compromise on the issues that are important to your spouse but less important to you. You should expect your spouse to be similarly willing to compromise on the issues that are important to you. Usually, each party mentally assesses the value of each issue, ranking the issues in a hierarchy of importance, and often each party's hierarchy varies from the other's. For example, it may be very important to you to keep the family dog, while it might be more important to your spouse to keep the plasma TV. Thus, it would be a prudent compromise to divide the property accordingly.

Most contested divorces become uncontested at some point, usually because the parties eventually exhaust their financial and emotional capabilities to continue fighting. In a fully contested divorce, nobody wins, regardless of the outcome of the trial. The Family Court judge may award you what you're seeking, but it may feel like a hollow victory considering the legal and emotional costs incurred.

Please feel free to call us for a free legal analysis of your case. We are committed to helping you obtain an uncontested divorce under terms that are fair to you and that provide to you the necessary resources to start the next phase of your life. If, despite your best efforts to work in good faith with your spouse, an uncontested divorce is not possible, we will fight aggressisvely for you to ensure that you receive everything you need and are entitled to under the law.

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