What is an Uncontested Divorce?
An Uncontested Divorce is a divorce where one party files the divorce petition and the other party signs a waiver of service allowing for the completion of the divorce without further notice to him/her. This means that a divorce decree may be presented to and signed by a Judge without that decree first being reviewed by or agreed to by the party signing the waiver of service.
a. An uncontested divorce is the least expensive divorce option. However, it is not very often that a party is willing to sign a waiver of service where the right to participate in the divorce process or review and/or agree to the terms of the decree is waived.
What is an Agreed Divorce?
An Agreed Divorce is a divorce where the parties, either at the time of filing the divorce or at least prior to appearing in Court for a final trial, reach agreements on all their divorce related issues without court intervention:
a. With respect to children, it means that agreements have been reached by the parties regarding child custody and child support, including who will provide health insurance for the children and who will be responsible for any uninsured medical expenses incurred on behalf of the children.
b. With respect to the division of property, it means that agreements have been reached by the parties as to how to divide the community estate and, in addition how to divide the debts that have been incurred by the parties during the term of the marriage.
c. With respect to spousal support, it means that agreements have been reached by the parties as to whether spousal support will be paid by one party to the other, how much spousal support will paid and the length of time spousal support will be paid.
One of the benefits of an agreed divorce is that it normally costs significantly less than a contested divorce. In addition, an agreed divorce can often be finalized sooner than a contested divorce. Finally, the parties do not have the stress of appearing in Court and testifying.
What is a Contested Divorce?
A Contested Divorce is a divorce where the parties are unable to agree on one or more of their divorce issues. Because there are disputed issues, the parties are required to appear in Court, introduce evidence as to what they want and why, and then ask the judge to make a decision relating to the children, to the division of property and debt, and/or to spousal support. Whether the parties disagree on one issue or multiple issues, if the parties are required to appear in court for a final resolution, the divorce is considered a contested divorce.
a. A contested divorce can take more time, can generally cost much more than an uncontested or agreed divorce and can be much more stressful and emotionally charged.
What is a Collaborative Divorce?
A Collaborative Divorce provides an alternative process to the litigated contested divorce. A Collaborative Divorce is a divorce where the parties are not in agreement as to their divorce issues but agree that they want to try and resolve their contested issues by participating in negotiation sessions that involve a collaborative team. The collaborative team is usually comprised of their attorneys, a financial neutral and a mental health neutral. Rather than putting their issues to the Judge for resolution, the parties have agreed that they will attempt to work together with their collaborative team to find creative solutions and reach agreements on important issues without court intervention.
a. As opposed to the litigation process, the collaborative process is all done outside of court, it is private and confidential, it is customized to parties’ particular situation and when children are involved, it is child centered.
b. It allows the parties to work together to resolve their issues and thereby maintain a positive post-divorce relationship with one another. This can be especially important when the parties will need to continue to co-parent children after the finalization of their divorce.
Megan Rachel has extensive experience in handling all different types of divorce cases. Whether you have an uncontested, agreed, highly contested divorce, or if you think the collaborative approach would best fit your needs, would like proceed collaboratively, I am here to help.