Contested vs Uncontested Divorce: The Different Pros and Cons

A divorce can be truly liberating, but deciding whether or not they should get a divorce can be a complex emotional experience for both spouses.

As you can see, contested and uncontested divorces both have some undeniable pros and cons. Some couples are lucky if they can settle for an uncontested divorce, but in other situations, a contested divorce is the only way to ensure that both parties, as well as their children if they have any, will be treated fairly after these challenging times.

If you are contemplating filing a divorce application, you should consider hiring an family lawyer to help you protect your interests, even if you think you might be able to settle things with an uncontested divorce.

If you are coming to the conclusion that your marriage is not meant to last, or if you are simply curious, you might be wondering what is the difference between a contested and an uncontested divorce. Is one better than the other? What are the pros and cons of each one?

Let’s learn more about contested vs uncontested divorce:

What is a contested divorce?

Between a contested vs uncontested divorce, a contested divorce is more complicated because one of the spouses doesn’t agree with all, or with some of the terms presented by the spouse who filed the divorce application. The spouses can disagree on many things, including child custody, child support, spousal support, division of financial gains, and ownership of the family home.

In case of a contested divorce, both parties will need to hire an attorney and go to court. The spouse who contested the divorce application will try to get the court to deny the requests of the other spouse, and the judge will have to make a decision.

Of course, a contested divorce can also be settled out of court, if both parties are ready to negotiate and to find solutions both of them will agree with.

Contested divorces are more common for couples who have children, who have been married for a long time, or who own a home and many other assets together.

Pros of a contested divorce

If one of the spouses judges that the terms presented in the divorce application are not fair, they will be able to fight for their rights to be respected. Going to court is not a pleasant experience, but it can be necessary to achieve a fair and just settlement.

Unlike an uncontested divorce, in which both parties are in agreement, a contested divorce can be appealed, which could be useful in some situations.

Cons of a contested divorce

If the two parties go to court, the final decision of the judge might end up disappointing one, or even both of them. In this situation, appealing the case could be a solution.

Contested divorces usually take much longer to settle than uncontested divorces, especially if the two parties are not able to negotiate and if there are many issues and disagreements to resolve.

Finally, a contested divorce can generate a lot of stress for both parties, in the midst of an emotional situation that is already difficult to handle.

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce doesn’t mean that both spouses equally want to divorce. Maybe one of the spouses wants a divorce, and the other would prefer giving another chance to the relationship.

When a divorce is uncontested, it simply means that both spouses agree on the terms of the divorce. Let’s say that a man and a woman are getting a divorce. The woman files the divorce application, and the man doesn’t contest anything and agrees with the terms. Their divorce is then going to be uncontested.

Uncontested divorces are also called joint divorces.

Pros of an uncontested divorce

Both spouses will save time and money, since there will be no need to hire attorneys and go to court.

Since the divorce will be settled faster than if there were any disagreements, both parties will avoid a lot of stress. Agreeing to an uncontested divorce means there will be less emotional turmoil to deal with during this trying time.

Since there will be no fight and no arguments over the terms of the divorce, the two parties should be able to part in good terms, which is especially a good thing if they have children together.

Cons of an uncontested divorce

A spouse could agree to an uncontested divorce simply because they don’t want to go through the ordeal of hiring an attorney and going to court. An uncontested divorce is easier and less costly, but it can leave one of the parties feeling unsatisfied and bitter.

That being said, if a spouse agrees with the terms of the divorce, but changes their mind after the divorce has been finalized, they might not be able to appeal and to try to get a different settlement.