Uncontested Divorce or Contested Divorce what is the difference?
Uncontested Divorce versus Contested Divorce explained
A contested divorce is the most complex of divorces because it involves spouses that are not agreeing to one or more terms of their divorce. So, what is the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce?
Uncontested Divorce Explained
An uncontested divorce means both spouses agree on all issues concerning their divorce, which includes splitting of marital assets. An uncontested division of marital property and debts, child custody, child support, and potentially alimony. An uncontested divorce is rarely recommended when children are involved. It is also not recommended to do an uncontested divorce on your own, without the legal help of a qualified local Attorney familiar with that state’s particular laws.
You should always schedule a consultation with a local Family Law Attorney by phone or in person, even if it means you have to make a small investment for the initial consultation (the average fee per hour rarely exceeds $375).
“Uncontested Divorce Offers” uncontested
There are plenty of tempting online portals offering uncontested divorce for very low fees. Why should you not file your uncontested divorce without an attorney? Well, that answer is easy. While you might pay a local Attorney more for your uncontested divorce, you will receive proper guidance and legal advice for your specific needs. The complexity of your financials, marital debt and, your assets may also require additional knowledge of the law. Proper legal documentation must be completed and filed to protect you and your family in the future. Even in uncontested divorce cases, both parties can make emotional decisions without considering potential future issues. Some DIY divorces derived from online templates turn into a nightmare later. When children are involved you should always seek the advice of a qualified Family Law Attorney in your state. Though modification after you are legally divorced, can be filed, there is a time limit after the divorce, and you would still have to hire a Law Firm to modify the originally agreed upon divorce orders. The modification process is often more expensive than the original divorce.
If you have only been married for a short period of time, and have no children, no assets, no debts together, and agree on all terms to end the marriage then it might be a good idea to commit to an uncontested divorce. However, we recommend that you still seek a local Divorce Law Firm versus choosing one of the hundreds of online documents to end your marriage legally. If you are struggling financially, we recommend that you visit a local financial institution versus using high-interest credit cards to pay for your divorce. Most banks offer low-interest signature loans with low monthly payments.
An uncontested divorce basically means that both spouses agree on all of their divorce-related issues. Each state has specific legal requirements that must be met before a divorcing couple can proceed with an uncontested divorce. Again, please consult with a local attorney or check your local courthouse website for the specific requirements before proceeding with your divorce.
Even though you have to meet certain requirements, an uncontested divorce is easier than a contested divorce because spouses can end their marriage without negotiations, a legal battle, and court hearings. It usually involves less stress and fewer legal fees. Our Atlanta based firm offers uncontested divorce services at reasonable rates.
NOTE: Orders of the Court regarding “ Division of Marital Property” are not modifiable at any future date after the divorce decree is final
They can be changed only by amending the original final divorce decree, and an appeal to the Supreme Court of Georgia, Court of Courts, or by a written agreement signed by both parties and filed with the court as an order.
What about all the “ Uncontested Divorce” templates you can find online?
Though there are many legal templates that can provide all the information for your divorce without the assistance of a legal team, it will never be as individualized or rarely be as accurate as when you hire a private Attorney that can draw up your paperwork and file it for you at your local court-house.
Even if you decide to do it on your own, you must be able to work with your soon-to-be-ex to reach an agreeable resolution to finalize the uncontested divorce. Although working with your soon-to-be-ex to settle important financial and child-related issues may seem difficult, sometimes it can benefit all parties involved, especially financially. Since uncontested is an affordable way to end your marriage you should consider it only after seeking the advice of an Attorney.
In order to avoid the high fees for several consultations, you can do your research online and come up with a preliminary agreement and then present the agreement to the Attorney of choice at your consultation. This will give your Attorney a clear understanding of what you are agreeing on and will also protect you from making any long-term legal mistakes. Your Attorney can advise you on what needs to be added to the documents based on your situation and also give you recommendations personalized to your circumstances.
Keep in mind that once your divorce is final, no matter if it is uncontested or contested, once it is decided by the judge and filed with the clerk it is a final and forcible order. That means that even an uncontested divorce cannot be reversed if you change your mind.
You can only file for any modification to your uncontested or contested divorce decree once every two years so keep this in mind when deciding whether to file for any modification. The Court can only modify the original orders from the date of the filing of the petition.
What is a contested Divorce?
A contested divorce is when one or both spouses are disputing all or some aspects of their divorce. The divorce proceedings take longer to complete and often involve more stress and increased legal fees. With a contested divorce, you and your soon to be ex-spouse will have to go through specific steps before your divorce can be finalized. The particular legal requirements can vary from state to state and the fees vary from case to case. It is important to consider hiring a local Attorney that is familiar with the courts and judges in your area. If you live in Atlanta Georgia area, there are courts for each of the counties. Fulton, Gwinnett, and Dekalb, County for example. Listed below are the steps of a contested divorce in Georgia,
- Interview and hire a local Family Law Attorney
- Prepare, file and serve the divorce petition legal paperwork with the grounds of divorce is required
- Respond to the petition
- Be involved in the “divorce discovery” – which is the information gathering process, that involves various legal procedures to get information from your spouse and third-party witnesses
- Pre-trial legal motions and hearings
- Settlement proposals and negotiations
- If settlement fails – prepare for the divorce trial
- Complete divorce trial (court trial)
- Appeal the judge’s decision
During the divorce settlement phase, spouses are often unable to resolve their issues or come to any agreeable terms. Although the Judge may encourage spouses to work things out, very often it still leads to divorce court in the end.
During your divorce trial, both you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse present witnesses, and your lawyers can cross-examine the witnesses and present closing arguments. After your divorce trial is over, the court will issue a final order of all of the judge’s decisions, to finalize the divorce. Contested divorces are usually complex in nature and can be extremely stressful. In order to minimize the stress of your divorce, it is important that you choose a great Attorney that has your best interest in mind. This means that you should not make your decision based on free consultations and advertised discounts, but rather keep in mind that your divorce can work out in your favor if you choose a good local Attorney that will properly guide you through your divorce and protect you from making emotional decisions. Often large firms with many lawyers offer lower initial fees, but the trade of is that the experience can be less personalized and you could run into extremely high hourly billing for phone calls and emails after the initial payment.
If you live in the Buckhead area (we are located near Phipps Plaza and Lenox Mall in Atlanta), you should consider S. Dixon Law Offices for your uncontested divorce or contested divorce. Our legal team is dedicated to helping clients resolve their issues with the least amount of stress while offering reasonable fees for both types of divorces. Attorney Stephanie Dixon also offers Family Law Mediation Services to those clients that are not sure if divorce is right for them, or if one party seeks to mediate their potential divorce.
*This article is provided by DGM Global – Accuracy of legal content is not guaranteed – Law Articles are provided for advertising and informational purposes only. Images are purchased from Adobe Stock portal and may be subject to Copyright. Copying of images is not allowed. Copying of content for any purpose requires written consent by Attorney Stephanie D. Dixon – Managing Partner of S.Dixon Law Offices.