02 Feb Uncontested vs Contested Divorce in Missouri
If you have been researching divorces, you have probably come across the terms contested and uncontested. Is it important? Does one save me money? What does it mean for you? The reality is that classifying your case as an uncontested vs contested divorce is important. It will help you map out the costs, time frame involved, and strategy necessary to meet your goals.
What are the differences between
Uncontested vs Contested Divorce in Missouri?
An uncontested case is where the parties have reached an agreement. Their agreement needs to include the division of assets and debts, alimony, child support, child custody, and visitation. For this purpose, it also means that the agreement is reached before the actual Court case begins.
A contested case is basically any other type of case. If the parties are in disagreement over an issue, then it is contested. To muddle it further, it can change as the case progresses. A case may start contested, but as the parties begin agreeing on one issue after another, it will become uncontested. Likewise, a case could theoretically begin as uncontested and then change when one of the parties has a change of heart.
How do I know which one applies?
If you are calling an attorney, how do you know if you should call it uncontested or contested? Can you and your spouse can sit down informally and agree to the terms of the divorce? If everyone is on the same page initially, before the case begins, you can proceed uncontested. It takes cooperation up front. You will both have to be willing to disclose your property and debts. You need to be in agreement on how everything is being distributed and how you will be caring for the children, if applicable.
How are they different in Court?
There will be significantly less time involved in an uncontested case. An uncontested divorce can typically be finished in a few months. A contested divorce can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years depending upon the level of disagreement between the parties.
Less cost is involved as well. An uncontested divorce will be completed quickly and usually without a Court appearance by the parties. In contrast, a contested divorce will require more investigation, negotiation, and multiple Court appearances.
At the end of the day, whether your divorce is characterized initially as an uncontested vs contested divorce in Missouri depends upon how easily the parties work together and what’s at stake. If there is little property, little debt and no kids, it is obviously going to be easier to work out up front than if there are complicated child issues involved or a significant amount of debts or assets.
Interested in discussing your divorce case? Contact us at 314-782-3500 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free assessment of your situation.