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What is the difference between an agreed (uncontested) divorce and a contested divorce?

Uncontested / Agreed Divorce

An agreed divorce also known as an uncontested divorce can be done when both spouses agree to divorce. Basically – you both agree on the settlement terms of your divorce without a trial or court intervention.  However, you must agree on ALL terms of the divorce. An uncontested divorce is not without dispute or negotiation – it means that you were able to reach an agreement without involving a judge to make decisions for you. Agreed or uncontested divorces are normally faster, less stressful and cost much less than litigation (the process of taking legal action).

The benefits of an agreed divorce are:

  • Costs less
  • Faster timeline
  • Less stressful

Contested / No-Agreement Divorce

In a contested divorce, one or both spouses cannot agree on the terms of the divorce. One spouse may NOT want to get divorced. Common legal disputes include child custody and support, spousal maintenance (also referred to as alimony), and the division or property and assets. When the terms of your divorce cannot be agreed upon by both parties, then a judge will decide them for you in court based on the circumstances of your marriage and the law. A contested divorce takes more time, costs much more, and can be emotional, stressful and even hateful.

A contested / no-agreement divorce normally:

  • Costs more
  • Has a much longer timeline
  • More stressful, emotional and can be hateful

Most judges and lawyers prefer to settle out of court. However, if you and your spouse can not come to some type of agreement on your own, you will need the help of your lawyers and judge to help you reach a resolution.

To sum it up, the difference between and agreed or uncontested divorce versus a contested divorce is agreement versus no-agreement. Divorce can be easy when both parties agree, and it can also be very complicated when they don’t. Each divorce has its own set of circumstances and issues. For example, a family business can be tricky to navigate in the event both spouses are partners and are now splitting up. Not only are they splitting up personally, but they may also be splitting up professionally as well. There are many other intricacies and details that may be involved in your case. A divorce and family law attorney can help you navigate these waters to help you get the best result possible based on the facts and circumstances of your case and the law.

Knoxville Family Law Attorney