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Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

When you are considering the possibility of filing for divorce in Florida or if you have recently been served with divorce papers, it is important to understand the differences between contested and uncontested divorce. In general, uncontested divorces under Florida law are those in which the parties have come to an agreement about every issue in their case. This includes the division of marital property, spousal support, child custody, and child support. If even one issue remains in dispute, then the parties cannot have an uncontested divorce. Since Florida is a no-fault divorce state, there is no need to come to an agreement about the cause of the divorce, or the reason for the divorce, since spouses can only end a marriage in Florida by pleading that the “marriage is irretrievably broken,” with a couple of limited exceptions. With a contested divorce, one or more issues remain disputed between the parties.

Beyond the key difference between contested and uncontested divorce, what else do you need to know about contested vs. uncontested divorce in Florida? Consider some of the following information from our Brandon divorce lawyers.

Length of Time of the Divorce is Different

One of the key distinctions between contested and uncontested divorce in Florida is that uncontested divorces tend to happen much more quickly. In other words, the length of time from filing a petition for dissolution of marriage to a divorce judgment is usually much faster with an uncontested divorce since the parties do not need to have a judge hear any issues and make a ruling. An uncontested divorce may take only a month or two, whereas a contested divorce can sometimes take years, depending upon the complexity of the case and the number of court hearings required.

Certain parties expecting an uncontested divorce may also be able to file a petition for simplified dissolution of marriage, but only when the parties have no minor children and both have waived their right to seek alimony or support. A simplified dissolution of marriage may be granted in just a month.

Cost of the Divorce Will be Different

Since uncontested divorces do not require a judge to resolve any disputes, lawyers do not have to prepare for those complicated court hearings, and the parties can usually have a much less expensive divorce than parties in a contested divorce. Contested divorces can involve various costs that are not associated with uncontested divorces, including legal fees, appraisal costs for complex property division, forensic accountants when there are concerns about concealed assets, and other expenses.

Moving from Contested to Uncontested Divorce

Even if you are currently expecting a contested divorce, it may be possible to have an uncontested divorce in the end. You may be able to enter into settlement negotiations with assistance from your lawyer to reach a marital settlement agreement in Florida. You also can consider divorce mediation, through which you and your spouse can seek to resolve any disputes with assistance from a mediator.

Contact Our Brandon Divorce Attorneys

If you have questions or concerns about contested versus uncontested divorce, or if you want to learn more about your options to avoid divorce litigation and have an uncontested divorce, a lawyer can help. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our experienced Brandon divorce lawyers today. Contact Carman, Bevington & Finegan, P.A. for more information.