Upset couple on the couch

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce: What You Need to Know

When couples divorce, there are many more decisions to be made than simply deciding not to be married anymore. These decisions can relate to subjects such as asset and debt division, child support, and child custody. Even though California is a “no-fault” state, meaning anyone can file a divorce for any reason, it doesn’t mean the other party can’t make the process more difficult.

Contested Divorce

Contested divorces are the most complicated divorce cases. When a divorce is contested, it means the couple is unable to make an agreement on one or several issues of their divorce. Being unable to come to a joint decision on their own, they leave ut up to a judge to make the decisions for them.

This type of divorce also takes the longest to finalize, taking close to a year to complete. Once the divorce is filed, spouses have to go through numerous steps before the divorce is complete. Everything from hiring an attorney to pretrial motions, settlement proposals, and trials have to take place before a judge is able to make decisions on the divorce.

The settlement phase is usually where couples find the most friction, causing divorces to be considered contested. Judges always advocate for spouses to find common ground, but this is not always possible. The main causes of friction during divorce settlements include:

  • Division of property/debt
  • Alimony/spousal support
  • Child support
  • Child custody
  • Visitation rights

If there is a lack of compromise in the settlement phase, both spouses will present witnesses in court that will be cross-examined by their respective attorneys, with the judge having their final say over the divorce results.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is an agreement between spouses to divorce and separate their lives. The process is very similar to that of an uncontested divorce without any of the complications. This means that both spouses have agreed upon all matters involving aspects of alimony, child support, division of assets, and debt without having to appear in court.

This form of divorce is much more desirable for couples because it is much quicker, there is no need to go to court, and it is much less expensive.

Although hiring an attorney for a contested divorce is a given, you are not required to have one in an uncontested divorce. However, even though there is no requirement for an attorney, hiring one can still assist to make for an even smoother process.

Contact Our Laguna Woods Divorce Team Today

We understand that no matter what kind of divorce you seek, there will always be some form of stress or complication. We aim to make the process as easy as possible with compassionate and personalized services that put our client’s needs first above all.

If you are planning to file for divorce and are in need of experienced legal representation, do not hesitate to contact us today through our website or give us a call at (949) 303-7811 to schedule a consultation!