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Contested Divorce vs. Uncontested Divorce: What You Need to Know

May 12th • 6 min read

When a couple has decided to end their marriage and get a divorce, there are a lot of decisions that have to be made. There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to this process, particularly when it takes place in the state of Florida. Therefore, it is helpful to understand all options that are available. One of the first decisions that couples will have to make is whether to proceed with a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce.

What are the differences between these divorce proceedings in the state of Florida? There are several important points to keep in mind. It is helpful to remember that the decision on which type of divorce to file can have important consequences. Therefore, it is a good idea to work with an attorney who can help you get this right.

divorcing couple

A Contested Divorce

The first option is called a contested divorce. A contested divorce takes place when the spouses are unable to come to a mutual agreement on the exact terms of their divorce. For example, if there are disagreements related to children, alimony, property, debt, or any other issue, then the couple may decide to proceed forward with a contested divorce. Each individual spouse should hire a lawyer to represent his or her best interest. Then, they will go to court to try to come to an agreement on how they are going to divide their assets.

Importantly, the decision to use a court system is not going to impact a couple's ability to legally end their marriage. Instead, they are going to use the court system to decide how best to end the relationship.

There are several common topics that are discussed when a contested divorce unfolds. These include:

  • Deciding what assets qualify as marital assets vs. which assets are owned by a single spouse
  • Coming to an agreement regarding the total valuation and division of certain marital assets
  • Dividing debt a couple may have including student loans, mortgage payments, car loans, and credit card debt
  • Whether one spouse should pay alimony to another spouse and how much alimony should be given
  • Deciding who gets custody of the children and when visitation should take place
  • Whether one spouse should pay child support to another spouse and how much tile support should be paid

The biggest benefit of going through a contested divorce is that each spouse gets to voice his or her opinion regarding how the marriage should be ended. On the other hand, there are major drawbacks when it comes to a contested divorce. First, a contested divorce in the State of Florida takes a significant amount of time. Furthermore, because they have to be litigated through the court system, they can be expensive as well. In addition, a contested divorce can be contentious. Going to court can increase tensions between the spouses.

An Uncontested Divorce

Another option in the state of Florida is an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce takes place when the spouses have come to an agreement on all major issues impacting their marriage. Importantly, not all couples are going to qualify for an uncontested divorce even if they come to an agreement on how assets should be divided. For example, any divorce that involves children, minimum residency requirements, or spousal support can all get in the way of a couple proceeding with an uncontested divorce.

Importantly, there are some benefits when it comes to an uncontested divorce. For example, this is a much faster process. Furthermore, this does not necessarily have to take place in court. Therefore, there is more privacy as the divorce process moves forward. Because an uncontested divorce is faster, it often saves a lot of time and money. Finally, if spouses can come to an agreement on how to legally end their marriage, they can eliminate the stress of going to court repeatedly.

One downside of proceeding with an uncontested divorce is that it can be confusing for people who do not have any experience with the law. Furthermore, one spouse might be able to pressure the other spouse to end a marriage as quickly as possible on favorable terms. That is why it is always helpful for anyone going through a divorce proceeding to hire an experienced divorce attorney in the state of Florida.

When To Use an Uncontested Versus a Contested Divorce

So, when should someone use a contested versus an uncontested divorce? Ultimately, if spouses are unable to come to an agreement, then it is best to go through the process of contesting the divorce. That way, every spouse gets an opportunity to voice his or her opinion in court.

On the other hand, couples that might have limited resources, do not have children, or do not require spousal support may prefer to go through an uncontested divorce Instead. This is a faster process that can save time and money.

Work with an Experienced Florida Divorce Attorney

No matter which route couples decide to go in the state of Florida, it is helpful to work with an experienced divorce attorney. That is where the law offices of Leonard R. Ross can be helpful. At Leonard R. Ross, we will work with you individually, making sure we vigorously defend your best interests as the divorce proceeding unfolds. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you!