What Does a Contested Divorce Mean? Your Complete Guide

What Does a Contested Divorce Mean

The current divorce rate in the U.S. stands at 50%. That means that half of every married couple in the U.S. end up divorcing. Not the most pleasant statistics, but heck, it is what it is.

Not many people know that there are two types of divorce: contested and uncontested divorces. As you’d expect, most divorces are contested divorces because the majority of divorcing couples aren’t on the best of terms. That much seems evident, but what does contested divorce mean?

In today’s post, we’ll help you find out what is a contested divorce and what it means for the divorcing couple.

Contested Divorce: The Meaning

Contested divorces are divorces where the ex-couple can’t seem to agree on the terms of the divorce.

Understandably, divorces aren’t the simplest of issues to handle, especially for an already squabbling couple. Some of the matters that divorcing couples need to agree on include:

  • Asset and debt division
  • Parental support or alimony
  • Visitation and custody

These are just some of the myriad of issues that divorcing couples have to agree on before trial. If the couples can agree on the said matters before trial, the divorce will be uncontested. It’s not uncommon for divorces to go from uncontested to contested as the divorce progresses.

A contested divorce is very elaborate and entails a series of processes before couples can conclude the divorce. As such, a typical contested divorce takes much longer to complete than an uncontested one. Before the couples finalize the divorce, they must:

  • Complete all the paperwork that the court required for filing the divorce and stating the grounds for the marriage breakdown
  • Respond to the divorce petition
  • Find and hire a divorce attorney
  • Gather all the necessary information pertaining to the divorce
  • Consider an out-of-court option
  • Should a settlement fail, the spouse must prepare for trial
  • Go to trials and complete the trial
  • File a motion of appeal or petition if you’re unsatisfied with the results

That pretty much concludes the entire contested divorce process. The whole process is complex and time-consuming. As such, you’ll need a good lawyer from a reputable law firm like Vendt Law Firm to guide you through the entire process.

What Are the Differences Between Contested and Uncontested Divorces?

The difference between contested and uncontested divorces isn’t only in the couple’s state of agreement. Many factors make contested divorces different from uncontested divorces. Here are a few things that make contested divorce different from uncontested ones.

Period of Completion

A contested divorce drags on for a long time because of the complexity of matters involved. Uncontested divorces, on the other hand, take a much shorter time to conclude because the couple will have sorted out most of the issues.

It’s worth noting that some uncontested divorces might take much longer than contested ones. That’s because the quickness of the divorce proceedings depends on the state, the court, and the couple in question. Because contested divorces take much longer, they are more expensive than uncontested ones.

Possibility of Appeal

Since uncontested divorces have both party’s consent, there’s no need for appeal. However, ex-spouses can file for an appeal if one spouse feels the proceedings were unfair. However, not all divorce cases are viable for appeal.

To appeal your divorce, it must meet any of the following conditions:

  • The judge made an overt error of law
  • The judge wasn’t in line with their judicial discretion
  • You can prove that you made certain decisions under coercion or duress
  • You made certain decisions under the influence of a drug or medication

These are just a few grounds for the appeal of divorce, but only for contested divorces. For uncontested divorces, you need to have everything in order before finalizing the divorce since there’s no going back.

Control of the Divorce Outcome

You have more control over the outcome of the divorce in an uncontested divorce. That’s because the couple is the entity that stipulates the divorce terms. Things are much different for contested divorces because the judge stipulates the divorce terms.

This can be a huge inconvenience for the divorcing couple. Take, for instance, a scenario where one spouse would rather keep the car than keep the house, but the judge decides otherwise. The couple will have no choice but to toe the line.

In contested divorces, the judge may not have the same priorities as the couple. As such, things may not always go the way the couples want. With uncontested divorces, the couples have more control over the divorce than with contested ones.

How Much Does a Contested Divorce Cost?

Divorces, whether contested or uncontested, cost a pretty penny. However, it’s imperative for divorcing couples to know the cost of divorce for their financial organization. That said, what is the cost of a contested divorce.

The average cost of a contested divorce is about $10,000 and will take around six months to conclude. Some more complex contested divorces could easily cost upwards of $30,000. Of course, this has a lot to do with the couple’s organization, choice of representation, and the complexity of the divorce.

The bulk of the expenditure goes to the attorney’s pay for legal representation. That’s why it’s crucial to get proper legal representation for your case to avoid throwing money down the drain. As earlier mentioned, uncontested divorces cost less than uncontested ones because they’re more straightforward and take a shorter time.

What Does Contested Divorce Mean?

“What does contested divorce mean?” This is a question you should answer comfortably with the above information.

If you’re planning to divorce, try your best to take the uncontested route. Regardless of your type of divorce, remember to get proper legal representation for the best results.

Now that you understand the meaning of uncontested divorce, it’s time to explore other topics. Check out our blog for more informative tips and guides.

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