What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
We have all heard the stories of the divorce that lasted for multiple years, costs thousands and thousands of dollars, and destroyed the lives of the parties in the case. But, is that the story of every divorce? The answer is no, in fact, many divorces are accomplished every day in a peaceful and agreeable manner known as an uncontested divorce.
The general definition among most family law attorneys for an uncontested divorce is basically a dissolution of marriage where both parties are in complete agreement on all relevant legal issues in the case. This means that there are no items at all that the parties are disagreeing on, the parties to the case can put their settlement agreement to a written format, at which point a divorce court judge may enter a final judgment of dissolution.
This is quite different from a traditional contested divorce where, at the beginning of the case the parties may disagree on several issues including custody and time-sharing of children, the division of assets, payment of debts, child support, alimony, and many other items.
In this contested situation the case will move through several phases of litigation and as the case moves to this litigation process if the parties are not able to reach a settlement on all these issues in the case will ultimately go to a contested final hearing, also known as a trial.
Why Would It Be Preferable for My Divorce to Be Uncontested?
There are many reasons that an uncontested divorce is preferable over a contested divorce. These reasons include, but are not limited to cost of litigation, emotional trauma caused to the parties, emotional stress caused to children involved in the case, length of time of the case, damage to the party’s ability to get along in the future to co-parent the children after the case is over.
The first of these, the cost of litigation is probably the first of many reasons that most people can think of as to why the family divorce case should be resolved in a peaceful way rather than through conflict. Divorce lawyers charge fees to their clients based upon the time that that must be devoted to that client’s case in the amount of work that is necessary. The longer a case goes on and the more the parties fight the more money the lawyers must charge their clients. Therefore, the best way to not overpay for legal fees for a divorce is to settle the case quickly on an uncontested basis.
The second reason that uncontested divorce is preferred is to minimize emotional trauma caused to the parties. This is probably the part of the equation that catches most people by surprise through the divorce process. Many people when considering divorce do not realize the physical and emotional strain that the process of divorce has on people. It is extremely common for divorcing litigants to require ongoing therapy and in some cases, people can develop long-term anxiety and other emotional damage stemming from the divorce process.
The third reason that uncontested divorce should be sought is to minimize emotional stress caused two children involved in the case. Though any responsible loving parent would work hard to shield the children from any knowledge or exposure to the divorce process, most children are able to pick up on the stress and anxiety coming from their parents and often unintentionally are placed in the middle of their parents’ conflict during the divorce. If the parties can bring their dissolution of marriage to a quicker resolution, they can greatly minimize the risk of stress on their children.
The fourth reason stated above for parties to seek an uncontested in the to the marriage is to preserve their ability to get along peacefully in the future so that they can work together in raising their children. Family court judges are very quick to point out to high conflict litigants that there are going to be birthdays, school graduations, weddings, and holidays, where their children are going to want both parents to be there. Further, that if the parents cannot stand to be in the same room with each other than they will always force their children to be stuck in the middle of the conflict which will continue to cause unnecessary stress on children of divorce and lead to emotional trauma and unhealthy relationships throughout their adult years.
Sean Smallwood is a family law and divorce lawyer in Orlando Florida, and he places an emphasis in every single dissolution of marriage case on attempting to resolve the case peacefully before ever allowing the case to see the inside of a courtroom.
If your desire is to resolve your case on an uncontested basis, contact our office today.