Contested Versus Uncontested Divorce: What’s the Difference?

Divorce is often viewed as a monolith, with the end of each marriage following roughly the same course. A complaint is filed, court proceedings are held, and a judge issues an order. But not all divorces are created equally. Texas recognizes two broad categories of divorce, contested and uncontested. Depending on your individual circumstances, needs, and goals, one or the other may be best for you.

The Friendswood, Texas family law attorneys of Hannah Law, PC are here to represent your interests. Learn more about the differences between contested and uncontested divorce.

You can contact us at 281-262-1311 for help navigating your divorce.

Uncontested Divorce

If the parties can reach a mutual agreement on all aspects of their divorce, it is considered uncontested. Divorce is far more than just the formal dissolution of a marriage, however. Spouses must decide such matters as:

  • The division of marital property, assets, and debts
  • How child custody and parenting time will be shared between the parties
  • How much child support one parent will pay to the other
  • Whether and in what amount one spouse will pay spousal support to the other

Although there are other issues the spouses may need to address, these tend to be the main ones. Importantly, in an uncontested divorce, the spouses must agree to all matters that a divorce court would have to decide. Also, an uncontested divorce does not mean the court plays absolutely no role in the case. A judge must still review the terms that have been reached, enter a court order, and dissolve the marriage.

Parties to uncontested divorces usually arrive at a resolution through mediation. During this out-of-court process, a neutral mediator helps the spouses negotiate and settle their issues.

Contested Divorce

As one might expect, a contested divorce is one in which the spouses cannot agree on at least one major issue. Sometimes, the spouses can’t agree because there is conflict between them. Other times, the divorce is relatively amicable, but the spouses reach an impasse on something.

A judge, and the lawyers, may still encourage the spouses to mediate. A mediation can at the very least resolve some or even most outstanding matters between the parties. But if everything cannot be worked out, then the judge will ultimately need to decide.

Contested Divorce in Texas, Couple Arguing

Why Pursue One Type of Divorce or the Other?

There is no right or wrong way to get a divorce. The spouses in each case have to consider their unique circumstances and determine the best way forward. That said, there are some reasons why either uncontested or contested may be better.

Uncontested Divorce

Spouses should give serious consideration to working out an uncontested divorce if:

  • They agree on all major issues related to the termination of their marriage.
  • They agree on most issues, and there is potential to settle the rest via mediation.
  • The issues involved are relatively simple (e.g. no complex assets to divide).
  • The spouses have no children, so there are no concerns about child custody or child support terms.
  • The spouses do have children and they want to keep conflict to a minimum.
  • There is concern over the cost, stress, and involvement of protracted divorce litigation.

Contested Divorce

Conversely, you might need a contested divorce if:

  • The other spouse is being unreasonable in his or her demands.
  • The other spouse refuses to negotiate, cooperate, or discuss the divorce.
  • There is a likelihood that the other spouse will not be able to live up to any mutually agreed terms.
  • There are complex assets or issues involved, like the division of a family business.
  • There is a history of domestic violence or abuse which makes cooperative resolution impossible.
  • You have children and have concerns over your spouse’s parental fitness.

Charting the Best Path Forward in Your Divorce

If divorce is on your horizon, we know you have many questions and concerns. Trust the experienced guidance of Hannah Law, PC. Our Friendswood, Texas family law attorneys are here to represent your interests.

We can review your individual situation, develop a personalized divorce strategy, and help you move forward. Reach out to us today at 281-262-1311 to get started.

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