Divorces are not always adversarial, bitter battles. In some cases, marriages are ended and many of the decisions are mutually agreed upon by both spouses. While marriage can be ended by one spouse, the decision to have either a contested or an uncontested divorce has to be decided upon by both spouses. In order to have an uncontested divorce, both parties must agree to cooperate together regarding issues of child custody, support payments, and the division of marital assets.
Most divorces in the United States are contested divorces. A contested divorce is one in which both spouses cannot find agreement on at least one major issue such as child support calculations, child custody, and visitation issues, spousal support calculations, or the Equitable division of marital assets and debts. These disagreements ultimately need to be decided in order for the divorce to be finalized. When two spouses cannot come to a mutually agreed-upon decision regarding these major issues, a divorce is considered contested.
In a contested divorce you will go through the discovery process, which will require both parties to exchange financial information and documents. It will also require exchanging other evidence in support of custody, visitation, and child support issues.
ALSO READ: Custody Discovery Questions
Contested divorces are typically more time-consuming, as well as more expensive.
In some cases, both spouses will agree on every major issue within a divorce.
An uncontested divorce means that your spouse does not need to be served by a process server or constable and will sign a waiver of service. It also means that all terms of the divorce decree are agreed to and that your spouse will sign the final decree of divorce.
If you hire an attorney, the attorney in most cases will not represent both spouses. Also, in order to be considered uncontested the attorney will not negotiate any terms of the final decree with your spouse. You will need to negotiate the terms and have agreement from your spouse on the major issues prior to hiring the attorney. The attorney will then turn your agreement into a legally binding document that you and your spouse will sign. The attorney will also take care of the court process in most cases.
Even if your divorce is uncontested you want to make sure that all areas are covered and that your final decree is legally binding.
The process for an uncontested divorce takes substantially less time, and only one spouse needs to be present before a judge.
While an uncontested divorce does take less time and money, both spouses may want to consider having legal representation during the process to ensure that their legal rights are protected.
ALSO READ: Parental Rights in Texas