How Does a Contested Divorce Differ from a No Contest Divorce?

no contest divorce

Unfortunately, divorce is far too common in the United States. Based on reporting numbers for 45 states and the District of Columbia, there are nearly 790,000 divorces each year.

Not all divorces end on the same terms. Some couples are able to amicably split.

On the other hand, other couples need legal assistance to reach a divorce agreement. For them, issues like children and investments are too complicated to resolve without professional help.

Read on to learn how a contested divorce is different from a no-contest divorce. Explore the differences between the two and dive deeper into the contested variety.

What Is a No Contest Divorce?

A no-contest divorce is precisely what it sounds like. Both sides are agreeing to the divorce and there are no major disputes over child custody or finances.

There are several benefits to this approach. For starters, a no-contest divorce greatly reduces your legal expenses. In addition, an uncontested divorce is much faster and follows a streamlined process.

While it sounds great, an uncontested divorce does not work for many couples. For these splits, issues like pension benefits or distribution of debt are too complex to solve without the judicial system.

What Is a Contested Divorce?

A divorce becomes contested when one partner does not agree to legally split or an issue becomes unresolvable.  In general, there are a number of common issues that prevent couples from pursuing an uncontested divorce.

The common problems that plague a divorce agreement include alimony and property division.

What Is the Process for a Contested Divorce?

Regardless of your state’s divorce law, a contested divorce is always a well-defined process. One party files for divorce with the state’s family court. The other party is served with a notice of divorce and afforded the opportunity to respond.

One of the first major milestones in the legal process is discovery. Here, both sides are able to acquire critical information about the other partner. The judge will also issue temporary orders pertaining to child custody or spousal support.

While the judge will encourage couples to reach a settlement, some separations proceed to trial. In this step, each side is provided the opportunity to argue their case before a judge.

Your lawyer also retains the ability to call witnesses and perform cross-examination of your partner’s witnesses. Finally, the judge will use all information acquired to reach a decision on the divorce and all outstanding issues.

What Is Next?

Sometimes, one party does not agree with the judge’s decision. If you think the final decision was unfair, your lawyer can file a post-trial motion.

The judge will consider the argument presented in a post-trial motion. If this fails, your final recourse will be to file an appeal of the judge’s decision. However, be advised that all of these steps are driving up your legal expenses.

Wrapping It Up

Divorce is a difficult time for everyone involved. An uncontested divorce is the preferred approach, but sometimes issues are too complex to be solved without a judge.

If you enjoyed this article about the difference between a contested and no-contest divorce, check out our blog for more great content. Looking for the divorce lawyer, click here.


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