What is the Difference Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce?
One of the most common questions people considering a divorce ask is, "What is the difference between a contested divorce and an uncontested divorce?"
An uncontested divorce is a simple divorce in which both parties are in agreement. This means that both parties are willing to sign a written agreement as to the disposition of marital debts and assets, division of marital property including retirement plans, custody of the children, child support, and visitation. Although you can get forms and do this on your own, it is beneficial to have an attorney in an uncontested divorce to ensure that the pleadings are drawn up correctly and the Agreement and Parenting Plan are enforceable in case any problems arise in the future. This is of particular importance in divorces involving children, custody, visitation, and child support. In almost all uncontested divorce cases the parties are not required to appear for a Final Hearing.
In a contested divorce, the parties cannot come to an agreement. In this situation, the responding party will be served with a Summons and Divorce Complaint, which must be answered within a certain amount of time (30 days in Tennessee and 20 days in Kentucky). If the responding party does not answer a Default Judgment may be obtained against them.
A contested divorce can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. Often times the parties must attend court multiple times. The parties are required to attend a mediation to try to settle any issues that they can before the Final Hearing. At the Final Hearing, the Judge will decide how to divide assets and property, who is responsible for marital debts, who will receive custody of the children, how much visitation the other party will receive, and how much child support will be paid. It is of utmost importance to have an experienced Divorce or Family Law attorney to protect and represent you in a contested divorce.
If you are facing divorce, whether contested or uncontested please call our office for a free consultation. We represent clients in Tennessee and Kentucky.