Divorce proceedings are rife with tumultuous emotions and questions. While complicated for everyone involved, the process could be drastically different depending on whether it is a contested or uncontested divorce.
Among your questions, you are likely wondering, “What is the difference between contested and uncontested divorce?” Read on to learn how this differentiation may affect your particular case.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce: The Basics
An uncontested divorce occurs when both parties agree that divorce is desired and agree on its key elements. If those parties cannot reach an agreement on all issues in their marriage, on the other hand, they need to move forward with a contested divorce.
In an uncontested divorce, both parties can set the terms themselves, withing the bounds of the law. If they need to proceed with a contested divorce, though, the judge might have to resolve the terms for them.
The Elements You Must Agree On
Both spouses must agree on several key elements of the divorce process: not just the fact that they want to get divorced but also any factors that could influence their finances or the time they get to spend with their children.
Division of Assets
The spouses must reach an agreement that includes a division of all marital assets. It does not need to be perfectly equal but should represent a fair and desired strategy.
For example, if both parties keep their cars, they do not necessarily have to balance the assets if one car has a greater value than the other. The couple must determine how all their marital property such as real estate, businesses, investments, accounts, and other marital property will be divided.
Division of Debts
In addition to separating assets, divorcing spouses may divide their debts—including determining who will pay the mortgage and take on any other marital debt, such as credit cards. Again, as with the division of property, they may create an arrangement that considers the needs of both parties.
The party who chose to enter into a specific debt could also influence that equitable division. For example, if one spouse regularly racks up credit card debt, that spouse might take on responsibility for the credit cards after the divorce.
Spousal support requires the higher-earning spouse to make payments to the lower-earning party who is not able to be fully self-supporting. Divorcing parties might need to determine how much spousal support is reasonable, how long payments will continue, and other factors—including living with a new partner—that would discontinue spousal support.
To move forward with an uncontested divorce, a couple must work out a child custody arrangement that works for them and their minor children. This could include not only determining how custody is shared and decision-making power for the children, but also how they will handle issues like where the children spend the holidays. Parents should also discuss sporting events and other activities the children participate in.
Child support payments help pay for children’s needs and ensure that their lives remain as consistent as possible after the divorce. Parents must follow the law of the state in setting child support. They might need to discuss the management of issues such as medical bills, school costs, and sports and activity fees.
Contact a Skilled Divorce Attorney Today
Answering the question “What is the difference between contested and uncontested divorce?” helps you make wise decisions when dissolving your marriage. This process is important for protecting your interests and needs.
Even if you and your spouse reach an equitable agreement and move toward an uncontested divorce, you need a qualified attorney to represent your best interests. Contact the Capital Family and Divorce Law Group today to meet with an experienced divorce lawyer.