Uncontested Divorce vs. Contested Divorce: Understanding the Difference in Connecticut
Understanding the difference between uncontested divorce vs. contested divorce can make a big difference in Connecticut divorces. Whether you’re considering ending your marriage or have already initiated a divorce, today we shed light on the two paths that CT divorces can take. Uncontested divorce, often called “amicable divorce,” occurs when both parties can reach an out-of-court agreement on all major issues, including child custody, alimony, and property division, without a judge to decide. On the other hand, contested divorce involves disputes and disagreements that require the court’s involvement and decision. From the loss of control, to the divorce timeline, to the financial implications, read on to explore both options in the Connecticut divorce process.
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce, often called an “amicable divorce,” occurs when both parties can reach an out-of-court agreement on all major issues, including property division, child custody, alimony, and child support, eliminating the need for a judge to decide. This type of divorce allows for the spouses to retain more control over the outcome of the divorce. Uncontested divorces tend to resolve in less time than fully contested litigations and have lower attorneys fees. This typically makes uncontested divorce less stressful compared to a contested divorce.
Advantages of an Uncontested Divorce
One of the main advantages of an uncontested divorce is maintaining control over the outcome. Since the parties retain control of the decision-making process, they can negotiate mutually satisfactory terms with the assistance of their divorce attorneys. (This doesn’t mean they will both love everything about their divorce settlement.). Resolving the divorce outside of the courthouse can lead to a more amicable separation, which is especially valuable when children are involved. Another advantage is the shorter timeline. Uncontested divorces generally take less time to finalize, allowing both parties to move on with their lives sooner. This also typically results in lower attorneys fees than a fully contested divorce with a divorce trial.
Read: Control & Divorce
The first step in an uncontested divorce is often to determine how you’d like to reach a settlement agreement. For example, would you like to file a divorce with the court and then try to negotiate it through your divorce attorneys? Or, would you prefer to use an ADR process like collaborative divorce or mediation to reach a complete divorce agreement?
Freed Marcroft has family law attorneys experienced in all divorce approaches. Please speak to us to learn more about which might be the most helpful based on your situation and goals for the future.
Then, once your agreement is finalized, we submit it to the court for approval. If the court finds the agreement acceptable under Connecticut law and has no questions, the judge will grant the divorce. If the judge has questions, for example, when your custody plan or financial structure is unique or nuanced, there may be an “uncontested hearing” to review the divorce settlement agreement.
Read: Settlement & Divorce
What is a Contested Divorce?
We call it a contested divorce when the spouses have disputes and disagreements that require the court’s involvement and decision. This type of divorce is typically more contentious and can be emotionally and financially draining for both parties involved. In a contested divorce, the court makes decisions regarding child custody, support, alimony, and property division.
Reasons for a Contested Divorce
There are various reasons why a divorce may become contested. Often, though, when there’s a lack of agreement on major issues such as child custody, visitation rights, and the division of assets, something else is going on. For example, other factors contributing to a contested divorce include mental health or addiction issues, infidelity, or abuse.
A typical contested divorce in Connecticut begins when one party files a divorce complaint. The other spouse then responds within a specified time frame. This is followed by the discovery phase, where both parties gather and exchange information relevant to the divorce. In addition, there may be court hearings along the way if there are pendente lite issues to resolve while the divorce is pending. It’s also possible that negotiation sessions like four-way meetings, pretrials, or mediation may be scheduled to try and reach a settlement. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the case will proceed to trial, where a judge will rule on the unresolved issues.
Read: What Is a Divorce Trial?
Key Differences Between Uncontested and Contested Divorces in Connecticut
The critical difference between uncontested and contested divorces in Connecticut lies in the level of control, timeline, and financial implications. In an uncontested divorce, both parties have control over the outcome and can negotiate terms that suit their needs. The timeline is generally shorter, allowing for a quicker resolution. Additionally, uncontested divorces tend to be more cost-effective in terms of legal fees, as they require less time and court involvement. On the other hand, contested divorces involve relinquishing control to the court, generally resulting in a longer and more expensive process.
Hiring a Divorce Attorney for an Uncontested or Contested Divorce
Regardless of whether you think you will have a CT uncontested divorce vs. contested divorce, seeking legal representation is advisable. A divorce attorney can dig into your goals for your future, help guide you through the process, explain the whole picture, and negotiate on your behalf. In an uncontested divorce, an attorney can assist with drafting the settlement agreement in line with Connecticut laws. In a contested divorce, an attorney will advocate for your interests and present your case in court.
Freed Marcroft limits its practice to divorce and family law. Please contact us if you would like to discuss our working together on your divorce.
Understanding the difference between uncontested vs. contested divorce is crucial for effectively navigating your Connecticut divorce process. An uncontested divorce offers the advantage of maintaining control over the outcome and a shorter timeline. On the other hand, a contested divorce involves disputes and disagreements that require court intervention. Regardless of the type of divorce, a divorce attorney can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the process. By considering these factors, you can make informed decisions and work towards a smoother transition during this challenging time.