By: Danielle Murphy, Paralegal
Oftentimes in movies, TV and other popular culture, divorces are depicted as these long, drawn out battles over every trivial thing which may cause some to feel overwhelmed when seeking a divorce in real life. However, the reality of the situation is much more straightforward. Depending on your relationship and whether you are on good terms with your soon-to-be ex, you can have a contested divorce or an un-contested divorce.
A contested divorce is the more traditional type of divorce that you see in movies and on TV where one person files for divorce and is served with a Petition for Divorce. After the other party has been served, they can file an Answer or a Counter-Petition. Having a contested divorce also means going to mediation or even to trial to divide your assets. Contested divorces are also common when there are children of the marriage, as coming to an agreement on custody and child support can be difficult without input from an intermediary like a lawyer or judge.
Uncontested divorces are much more straightforward, but also more rare. These only occur when the parties have no assets to divide or completely agree on how they want their assets divided. These cases are typically a much cheaper and faster process since both parties agree on how to separate the estate. These types of divorces can often be completed pro se, meaning without an attorney, although hiring an attorney is always recommended as any disagreement between parties would automatically make it a contested divorce. Additionally, the filing process can oftentimes become very confusing as there are several court rules and laws surrounding the timeframe and filing of your Original Petition and Final Decree.
Bottom line—knowing what kind of divorce you have can assist you and your attorney in resolving your case as quickly and cheaply as possible.