Some divorces are settled out of court. Others are settled in court and decided by a judge who does not know the couple personally. The first type is called an uncontested divorce. The second is a contested divorce; it’s also known as divorce litigation.
With an uncontested divorce, the couple agrees to put their heads together and settle all of their divorce-related issues out of court. Since the couple agrees on the outset to “work together” until a settlement is reached, the divorce process is much faster and far less expensive than a contested divorce.
But We Don’t Get Along
Just because you choose an uncontested divorce, it doesn’t mean you have to get along; it doesn’t mean you have to “like” your spouse. It doesn’t even mean you’ll agree on everything at first, but it does mean that you pledge to work together until you reach an agreement that is fair and that you can both live with.
Reasons to choose an uncontested divorce:
- It saves a LOT of time. Couples can obtain a divorce much quicker than if they opted for a contested divorce.
- It saves thousands in attorney fees and court costs.
- It reduces stress on all parties involved including the children.
- It allows couples to keep their divorce matters private.
- About 90% of divorce cases are settled out of court, so there is no reason to go to battle if you don’t have to.
- Avoids having a judge decide on the outcome of your divorce.
- Puts the couple in the driver’s seat; allows them to maintain control.
When is an Uncontested Divorce Inappropriate?
While an uncontested divorce is appropriate in most circumstances, occasionally it’s not the ideal solution. Here are some examples of when it’s ill-advised:
- There is a history of intimidation.
- There is a history of domestic violence.
- There is a large discrepancy in incomes.
- The breadwinner is far more educated than the lower-earning spouse and he or she is aggressively seeking an unreasonably unfair settlement.