If you are considering a divorce one of the first things legally you’ll want to decide is whether or not your divorce will be contested or uncontested. Ultimately if you are looking for the easiest path of least resistance you’ll want to have an uncontested divorce, however if there are many things at stake like child custody, child support, spousal support or property division a contested divorce may be a better route.

What Is the Difference Between a Contested and an Uncontested Divorce?

If you or your spouse had decided to file for divorce, you each have the right to contest something that was requested in the petition for divorce. If there are large disagreements on certain aspects you’ll need to contest the divorce and take these issues to court

In an uncontested divorce, although you may disagree over various aspects of the divorce, you’ll still be able to resolve your differences without going to trial. You’ll need to have some proper discussions and work through things amicably, but ultimately an uncontested divorce will be quicker with less legal friction.

What Are The Biggest Differences Between a Contested and an Uncontested Divorce?

Before deciding on the divorce type, you should know some biggest differences. Here is a list of some of the most common ones.

Duration of the Divorce

The length of time it takes for the divorce to become finalized is one of the main factors that set a contested divorce apart from an uncontested one. An uncontested divorce will often resolve and become finalized relatively fast.

Cost of the Divorce

The filing costs for any divorce type are the same, but a contested divorce is subject to lengthy legal procedures, such as trial and discovery and other fees paid to legal teams and appraisers. For this reason, an uncontested divorce costs less than a contested divorce. 

Complexity of Divorce

Uncontested divorces are usually simpler because you are avoiding the lengthy court hearings, complex division of assets and usually won’t need a legal team.

Ultimately there is less paperwork to file, and less assets and situations to sort our which all lead to a more streamlined and quicker process for divorce.

Do I Need a Lawyer if the Divorce is Uncontested?

The answer is both yes and no. By law, you are not required to have an attorney in either contested or uncontested divorce, but there are certain instances where having professional help can be beneficial.

If hired, your attorney should read through all the documents to ensure they’re valid and that nothing is missing. They should explain the legal protocols regarding the divorce to you.

If you opt to not have a lawyer for your divorce, you can complete most divorces in a few steps.

Below are what steps you should take when filing for a divorce:

  1. Fill out and file a dissolution of marriage petition with your county court.
  2. Serve your spouse by getting a copy of the paperwork them. In a contested divorce, doing this properly is required for the court to proceed with the divorce. When it comes to the uncontested divorce, this step is merely a formality.
  3. Get the divorce settlement. These can be obtained on your own or by hiring a lawyer to help you get one.

We Are One of Los Angeles’ Top Divorce Law Firms

Debra Opri and Associates have served clients in the Los Angeles area for over 30 years. We have handled all sorts of divorce cases, from high-profile celebrity to individual and personal divorce cases. If you are planning for divorce please reach out for a consultation today.