Uncontested Divorces mean that before a case is started the parties have agreed on major aspects of the marital asset division. Those topics of agreement are the marital home, bank and savings accounts, debts, and split of other major marital property. If there are minor children involved in the divorce the parties are in agreement on the issues of child custody, child support, and split of expenses.
Uncontested Divorces do not use alternative dispute methods. Normally, the Plaintiff sends a proposed Settlement Agreement and Parenting Plan to the Defendant. The Defendant will look over the proposed agreements and let the Plaintiff’s attorney know if there are any changes that need to be made. Those changes are normally changing the legal language or ironing out small details. If the Defendant comes back with major disagreements over the equitable division of the marital property, then the case will turn into a contested divorce. When a case moves from uncontested to contested it may result in an additional retainer and added unexpected expenses. As discussed in our ‘How much does divorce cost?’ article uncontested divorces are less expensive. This is due to the case being settled out of court with minor back and forth but also not using mediators and Guardian Ad Litems.
Contested Divorce does not necessarily mean every financial aspect is a disagreement between the parties. The financial disagreement could be over the division of the 401k retirement accounts or investment accounts. Parties could be in a disagreement over selling or keeping the marital home. Contested Divorces will utilize alternative dispute resolutions methods such as mediation and late case evaluations. In heavily disputed cases, experts may be utilized as well during the process. The experts may be used to evaluate assets and testify in a final trial or used by a party in preparation for mediation. In contested divorce cases with minor children, a Guardian Ad Litem may be appointed by the court to make a recommendation on custody. Both parties need to be prepared for the emotional and physical toll a contested divorce will take not only on themselves but on the children as well. For more information on the length of the divorce process check out our ‘How long will my divorce process take?’ article.
Whether it is an uncontested or a contested divorce case it is important to have an experienced family law attorney to guide you through the process. We would be happy to set you up a consultation with one of our Marietta Family Law attorneys, call us toll-free at 866-527-2630.