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What Is the Difference Between a Contested and an Uncontested Divorce?

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If you’re preparing to end your marriage, you may be curious about what the legal process will look like during your case. This will depend on whether you have a contested or uncontested divorce. The difference between the two is whether you and your spouse can agree on family law matters.

If you can agree on how to handle child support, child custody, spousal support, and property division, you have an uncontested divorce. This means you can avoid a divorce trial since you won’t need a lawyer to litigate on your behalf in the courtroom. However, if you and your spouse can’t agree on all terms, you will have a contested divorce that will likely result in a trial unless you come to an agreement along the way. Consider the benefits of each type of divorce and what to expect from the legal process as you prepare to hire an attorney.

Is One Type of Divorce Better Than the Other?

Every divorce case is different, so it’s difficult to say which type is right for you and your spouse. However, if you’re hoping for a faster, simpler case where you can avoid confronting your spouse in a trial, you’ll want an uncontested divorce. In fact, this is ideal for most couples since the majority want to save time and money during their divorce case.

An additional benefit of an uncontested divorce is that you both get to make decisions regarding your family together, rather than leaving this to a judge who doesn’t know you personally. So, if you and your spouse have strong preferences on who gets which assets and how to share custody of the children, an uncontested divorce will give you more control over the outcome of the case.

On the other hand, there are some situations where it makes sense to contest the divorce. For example, if your spouse makes unreasonable demands regarding child custody, property division, and other issues, it’s not always right to agree just so you get an uncontested divorce. You deserve a fair outcome for both of you, which will require compromise. If you try to negotiate back and forth and realize your spouse will not budge, going to trial with the support of an experienced family law attorney may be recommended.

How Can You Get an Uncontested Divorce?

If you recently began divorce proceedings and have not come to an agreement with your spouse, don’t worry. It’s common to disagree with someone you are divorcing, since you likely could not agree on much leading up to the decision to separate, so you won’t start now. But don’t give up on the possibility of an uncontested divorce.

In fact, many divorces start as contested and end up uncontested before trial. This often takes weeks or months of negotiating, usually in mediation sessions outside of court. If you’re interested in finding a way to reach an agreement in a calm, nonconfrontational environment with the help of a neutral third party, contact a divorce lawyer to arrange for mediation. As long as your spouse agrees to try it, you have a chance of converting a contested divorce to an uncontested one.

What Happens During a Contested Divorce?

If you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement on divorce terms, your contested divorce will proceed. This means you will both have to hire divorce lawyers to represent you. They will assist with all stages of the divorce, from filing a petition with the family court to gathering evidence during discovery. They will also file motions with the court, appear at hearings, and help you complete and file paperwork without missing deadlines during the case.

At The Howze Law Firm LLC, our lawyers have helped many clients get the best possible outcome from their divorce. Whether you and your spouse agree on family law matters and are ready to proceed with your simple divorce or you want mediation for your contested case, our divorce attorneys are here for you. Call us at 803-266-1812 or contact us online to schedule a time to discuss your legal options regarding your South Carolina divorce case.


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