Divorce, whether contested or uncontested, inspires emotions that include worry, stress, fear, sadness, and anger. If you’ve been unhappy for awhile, you probably feel relieved too. You’ll likely experience an entire gamut of intense feelings as you accept the end of the marriage and prepare to divide assets and debts and discuss child custody and support, alimony, and the future of the marital home.
These feelings and focal points are common to both contested and uncontested divorces in Georgia. Both types also begin in the same way: one of you prepares and files a petition for divorce and has it served on the other spouse. The petition usually states the reason for the divorce, and makes the request on these grounds. The recipient spouse has to respond and, if applicable, argue any claims made.
The similarities generally end there, however. Let’s take a closer look at these two approaches to divorce and how they differ in terms of time, outcome, and potential stress levels.
In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse agree on important matters such as:
- Child custody and support
- Division of marital assets and debts
Out of the two divorce types, uncontested is the easiest because you are both willing to work things out amicably. You avoid stressful situations such as courtroom confrontations, angry negotiations, and standoffs that drag everything out in terms of time and expense. If there are children involved, it can be beneficial to them to see their parents cooperating with one another.
When a divorce is contested, it means that you and your spouse are not in complete agreement on all important matters. Although these divorces are commonly assumed to be nasty, hostile events where everyone is at each other’s throats, the truth is that disagreeing in even one area can convert a divorce from uncontested to contested.
For example, if you both decide that you should have primary physical custody of the children but your spouse disagrees on how much they should contribute to the cost of extracurricular activities, the amount of child support you receive will likely have to be settled in a courtroom in front of a judge.
Contested divorces usually take longer to finalize, due to the negotiations, reviews, and court hearings required. After the divorce petition is served, both of you go through the discovery process, meaning that information will be collected from you and any witnesses with relevant insights. After the pre-trial motions and hearing, you will sit down with your respective attorneys and try to negotiate a settlement. Should that prove impossible, a judge will hear your case and issue a Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce that addresses child support, alimony, property division, and related issues.
If you are not satisfied with the judge’s decision you can appeal, which adds more time and expense to the process. This is one of many reasons why contested divorces are not an ideal solution, but sometimes they are necessary.
If you are planning to file for divorce in Georgia, contact our Atlanta divorce attorney. We will look out for your best interests and those of your children as you try to achieve a fair and equitable end to your marriage.