The difference between contested and uncontested divorces

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2022 | Divorce

When you initially file for divorce, you will provide information about your property and debts, as well as suggestions about how to divide assets, to the courts when you file and then to your ex when you serve them. If you have minor children, your paperwork will likely include suggestions for custody arrangements as well.

Depending on whether your ex agrees with your suggestions or not, you may move forward with a contested divorce where you litigate in court or an uncontested divorce where you agree on the terms. What are the main differences between contested in uncontested divorces? 

Contested divorce has will take longer

If you agree to terms for an uncontested filing, a judge will look over those terms and approve your divorce. If you do not reach a mutual agreement, then a judge will have to hear testimony and review evidence about the marital circumstances to enter a ruling on property division or custody matters.

When you have more to discuss and prove, time in court will take much longer. Therefore, contested divorces are also more expensive than uncontested filings. They will push you closer to the average cost of a divorce, which was $12,900 in 2020. Compare that with the average uncontested divorce, which usually costs only $4,100. You will pay more than three times the amount to pursue a contested divorce.

Uncontested divorces give you more control

If you and your ex can work with one another, you have the final say about what happens with property or your children. In a contested divorce, that authority passes to a judge. Their opinion about your family circumstances may matter more than your wishes or requests.

Uncontested divorces keep things more private

When you litigate, you need to provide evidence to the courts to convince a judge that you should receive certain property or custody arrangements. If you settle matters for an uncontested divorce, you can discuss those same matters in private to ensure they influence your divorce without becoming part of the public record.

Understanding the benefits of an uncontested divorce might help you and your ex find a way to resolve your disagreement to limit the time and money you spend on court.