Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce: Which One Is Right for Me?
Oct. 7, 2022
When considering a divorce, contested and uncontested divorce are among the available options to dissolve your marriage. In an uncontested divorce, the couples are able to settle key divorce issues amicably.
Conversely, in a contested divorce, the parties will turn to the family court system to help resolve crucial divorce matters. An experienced Washington State family law attorney can enlighten you about the differences between a contested and uncontested divorce and help you decide which one is right for your marital union.
At Curiale Hostnik PLLC, we offer personalized guidance and reliable advocacy to individuals and families in divorce-related matters. Our trusted attorneys are available to discuss your unique situation, enlighten you about the benefits and drawbacks of each divorce option, and help you decide the best way to end your marital relationship. We're proud to serve clients across Tacoma, Washington, and surrounding cities throughout Pierce County.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce is a type of marital dissolution where both spouses mutually agree on all the important terms of the divorce. Here, the couples will work together to settle vital divorce issues – such as division of property, tax deductions, alimony, child custody, support, and parenting time – amicably and peacefully. Hence, uncontested divorce offers a cheaper and hassle-free way to end your marriage in Washington State.
The Uncontested Divorce Process
Although an uncontested divorce can be easier than a contested divorce, especially with the help of mediation, it’s still important to follow the essential steps through the process. Those steps include:
The couples will work together to settle key divorce matters and reach an agreeable settlement.
All agreed-upon divorce terms must be properly documented.
The formal settlement agreement is filed with the Washington State court to be officially approved.
The judge will review the divorce settlement terms and make sure it is fair and in everyone's best interests, especially the children.
The judge will approve the settlement agreement and issue a divorce order. This finalizes the divorce process.
A trusted Washington State divorce attorney can advocate for your best interests and help keep the conversation productive and on track.
What Is a Contested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce is a type of marital dissolution where the spouses are unable to agree on one or more crucial divorce terms. As a result, the couples will turn to the Washington State court to help resolve such divorce issues. The divorcing parties will be required to attend a divorce hearing where the judge will pronounce a final divorce order.
The Contested Divorce Process
Here are the steps involved in a contested divorce:
File Divorce Petition – The spouse seeking divorce will prepare and file the divorce petition at the court.
Serve Your Spouse – The spouse seeking divorce will serve the divorce papers to the other spouse – through another adult. In Washington State, you cannot serve the divorce papers to your spouse by yourself.
Respond – Once served, the other party will have 20 days to respond to the divorce petition and summons through a legal answer.
Divorce Discovery – The divorcing parties will have to go through the discovery process prior to the divorce trial. This may include oral depositions, document inspection, written interrogations, subpoenas, and requests for written admissions.
Pre-Trial Hearings – During the pre-trial hearings, you can negotiate with your estranged partner or propose a settlement agreement. In the event that you're unable to reach a settlement, your divorce case will proceed to trial.
Court Trial – During the court trial, the judge will allow the divorcing parties to present their arguments and issue a final judgment through a divorce order.
An experienced lawyer can help present your case intelligently in court and increase your prospects of achieving the best available outcome in your divorce case.
Which Kind of Divorce Is Right for Me?
However, the right divorce option for you and your partner will depend on your personal situation, unique needs, and other surrounding circumstances.
An uncontested divorce may be right for you if:
You want to resolve marital and divorce issues quickly.
You seek a hassle-free and cost-effective marital dissolution.
You want to forgive and avoid resentments or bitterness.
You want to move forward as quickly as possible.
In contrast, you may seek a contested divorce through the court system if:
You and your estranged partner can't agree on the key terms of the divorce settlement.
Your estranged partner has unrealistic expectations and isn't willing to compromise.
You suspect your partner of financial infidelity – hiding income and assets.
Your partner denies your request for spousal maintenance (alimony).
You disagree with the parenting plans and want to seek a judgment that will be in your children's best interests.
Your partner has a history of domestic violence or abuse (during the marriage).
Every divorce case is unique. Therefore, when considering a divorce, retaining an experienced Tacoma family law attorney is imperative to protect you and your family's best interests and help you make informed decisions.
Get Skilled & Knowledgeable Counsel
Filing for divorce in Washington State usually involves a lot of complex processes. Whether you are filing for an uncontested or contested divorce, getting proper guidance is crucial to navigating key decisions. At Curiale Hostnik PLLC, we have the diligence and resources to advise and guide clients through the complexities of divorce proceedings.
As your legal counsel, we can help you understand the benefits, downsides, and requirements of each marriage dissolution option and determine the right one for your relationship. In addition, our reliable attorneys will guide you through every stage of the divorce proceedings and help make your transition as smooth as possible.
Contact Curiale Hostnik PLLC today to schedule a simple consultation with skilled divorce lawyers. Our trusted legal team can offer you the dedicated advocacy and detailed legal guidance you need to make intelligent decisions in your divorce. We proudly serve clients across Tacoma, Washington, and surrounding cities throughout Pierce County, including Gig Harbor, Lakewood, Puyallup, and University Place.