Preparing for a Divorce: Contested vs. Uncontested

Divorces often include bitter battles between spouses and can include adversarial disagreements regarding everything from child custody to the division of marital property and debt. Before you make the decision to actually file for divorce and related claims, there are several things you can do to make sure that the process moves as smoothly as possible. While there are some cases in which no amount of preparation will make the process amicable, the amount of work you do prior to filing for divorce and related claims considering your options will help you make more calm and informed decisions throughout the divorce process.

Preparation for Divorce

While nothing can ever fully prepare someone for a divorce, there are certain steps you can take in order to attempt to ensure a smooth process. In many cases, lengthy divorce battles can be avoided by some minor preparation ahead of filing for divorce and related claims. Some of this preparation may include the following:

  • Make Certain. Make sure that you are certain before you make the decision to file for divorce related claims. In some cases, people get frustrated and angry and quickly file for divorce related claims. Being served with divorce related claims can make some people so upset that it is a point from which there is no return. Therefore, you should make absolutely certain before you make the final decision to file for divorce and related claims and have your spouse served with divorce related documents.
  • Examine Your Finances. As you prepare to file for divorce related claims, you should carefully examine your finances to determine where all of your marital assets and debts are and how you can financially afford your life following a divorce. Examine all of your marital checking and savings accounts, safety deposit boxes, retirement savings accounts, and more. Additionally, if you have any independent bank accounts you should consider changing your password prior to filing for divorce related claims.
  • Consider Child Custody. Make sure that you have a solid idea of what you would like your child custody arrangement to be prior to filing a custody claim, as well as some alternative options. This can help you as you move through the negotiations and make hard decisions about child custody and child support matters.
  • Plan New Living Arrangements. Try to never leave the marital home if at all possible, as it can be challenging to re-enter it and receive the award of the marital home in a divorce proceeding if you are not actually living in it. However, if you or your children’s safety is threatened in any way, you should absolutely leave and contact law enforcement, if necessary.
Types of Divorce

There are two types of divorce in the United States — contested or uncontested. Most splits end in a contested divorce where both parties can not reach a decision regarding at least one or two major issues such as the division of marital property or child custody matters. Rarely do you encounter a divorce situation where the parties immediately agree on all issues.

  • Contested Divorce. Contested divorces are typically more expensive and take much more time than an uncontested divorce. There will need to be a complete financial discovery of all marital assets and typically several different discussions between attorneys, or parties regarding child custody, spousal support, the division of property, child support, and more. In some cases, going through a mediation process can help resolve issues quicker if there is not complete agreement on one or two minor challenging points.
  • Uncontested Divorce. Uncontested divorces are ones in which the parties agree on almost all major matters, and therefore, are much less adversarial and more amicable. Uncontested divorces oftentimes cost a great deal less than contested divorces simply because most matters are already resolved, and they also take a great deal less time to completely resolve.

Every divorce is unique, and your situation will dictate what type of divorce you will ultimately have. However, whether you have a contested or uncontested divorce, you should seek legal counsel to ensure that your legal rights are protected. At any point, an uncontested and amicable divorce can turn adversarial, and you should have strong representation to ensure that you receive the marital property you deserve and a child custody arrangement that is fair. Even if you anticipate an uncontested divorce, you should be prepared for things to become contested at any point.

Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney

If you are considering a divorce in the areas of Charlotte, Monroe, or Mooresville, North Carolina, there are many things to consider as you prepare for this new chapter in your life. Whether you make the decision to proceed with filing for divorce or divorce related claims, you should always contact a divorce attorney to help you understand your legal rights. Contact an experienced divorce attorney at Arnold & Smith, PLLC at 704.370.2828 or online today for your initial consultation.