If you’re considering getting a divorce, you may have heard the terms “contested” and “uncontested” divorce. Read on to learn more about the main differences between these two types of divorce and how the Pennsylvania family lawyers at Berman Voss can effectively represent you through each step of the process ahead.
What is a contested divorce?
A contested divorce means that you and your spouse cannot agree on one or more terms of the divorce, such as child custody, child support, alimony, and property division. In a contested divorce, you will need to go through several steps before you can finalize your divorce, including the following:
- Filing a divorce complaint and serving it on your spouse
- Responding to any counterclaims from your spouse
- Engaging in discovery
- Participating in pre-trial conferences and hearings to resolve any preliminary issues
- Going to trial, where a judge will decide the contested issues for you
A contested divorce can take a long time, sometimes over a year, depending on the complexity of your case and the level of conflict between you and your spouse. A contested divorce can also be more costly, and, in some cases, more emotionally draining, as you will likely have to deal with the uncertainty and hostility of a court battle.
What is an uncontested divorce?
An uncontested divorce means that you and your spouse can agree on all the terms of the divorce without involving the court. Uncontested divorces typically involve the following:
- Meeting the residency requirement of at least six months in Pennsylvania
- Choosing a no-fault ground for divorce, such as mutual consent or irretrievable breakdown
- Negotiating a marital settlement agreement that covers all the issues in your divorce
- Filing the divorce papers and the marital settlement agreement with the court
- Signing an affidavit of consent to the divorce
- Requesting the court to enter a final divorce decree
Uncontested divorces are typically faster and cheaper than contested divorces; in some cases, they may even take as little as four months to complete. An uncontested divorce is typically more cost-effective and less stressful than a contested divorce, however, it’s imperative to have an attorney in your corner regardless of the type of divorce you’re facing. Uncontested divorces can quickly turn contested, and you’ll want a competent legal advocate who’s already familiar with your case in your corner, should this happen. Berman Voss has guided countless clients through the divorce process in the past, and the firm stands ready to do the same for you.