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What’s the Difference Between a Contested Divorce and an Uncontested Divorce?

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Florida law provides two paths to obtain a divorce: contested and uncontested. The primary difference between a contested divorce and an uncontested divorce is the agreement between the parties. 

Other differences include the time it takes to obtain a divorce and the costs involved. Generally, it is less costly and time-consuming to obtain an uncontested divorce.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce in Orlando, FL?

Florida is a no-fault state for divorces. Therefore, you can obtain a divorce even if your spouse does not want one. All you need to do is allege your marriage is irretrievably broken and cannot be repaired.

An uncontested divorce or uncontested dissolution of marriage can occur in one of two ways:

Spouses Are in Full Agreement on the Divorce Terms

Spouses can be in complete agreement on all divorce terms in many cases. That means they agree on matters related to child custody, child support, alimony, and property division. If there are disputes, the couple can negotiate a divorce settlement with the help of an Orlando divorce lawyer, collaborative divorce attorney, or divorce mediator.

Only one spouse needs to file the divorce petition. The other spouse files a response and requests the same relief. The court holds a hearing to approve the settlement and issue a divorce decree.

A Spouse Fails To Respond to Divorce Papers

When you file a petition for dissolution of marriage, you must serve the papers on your spouse. If your spouse refuses to participate, your lawyer files a motion for default

The court then schedules a hearing. The judge bases the decisions for your divorce on your testimony and evidence without any input from your spouse. The result is a default divorce judgment formally ending your marriage.

What Is a Contested Divorce in Orlando, FL?

A contested divorce occurs when your spouse files a response and disagrees with any of the divorce terms. Even though your spouse might not want a divorce, they cannot stop you from obtaining a divorce under no-fault grounds. However, your spouse can dispute the terms of the divorce.

For example, your spouse might allege they should receive sole custody of your children or disagree with your proposed parenting plan. Your spouse might allege that you are hiding assets or that your proposal for equitable distribution is unfair.

Contested divorces take longer than uncontested divorces. The parties go through discovery, which is the process of exchanging evidence and gathering additional information from third parties. The parties may also use resources and tools such as mediation and negotiation to try to settle their disputes outside of court.

When private negotiations and mediations fail, the court schedules the case for trial. At the trial, each spouse presents evidence supporting their allegations. The judge must determine what is fair and equitable for property division, what is in the best interests of the children, and whether to award spousal support. 

There court’s final decision is binding on both parties. If either spouse believes the judge made a legal error, they can appeal the decision. Also, if a party experiences a substantial change in circumstances, they could petition to modify support payments or custody arrangements.

Do I Need an Orlando Divorce Lawyer for an Uncontested Divorce?

Florida laws do not require people to hire attorneys. However, obtaining legal advice from an experienced Orlando divorce attorney is always in your best interest before proceeding with the divorce process.

Some couples might qualify for a simplified dissolution of marriage. These actions are intended for couples who agree on all divorce terms, have limited assets, are willing to waive alimony, and have no children together.

Even though you can complete the forms for a simplified divorce without a lawyer, you might not want to go this route. The forms can be confusing and complicated. Mistakes and errors could result in delays.

Furthermore, an amicable divorce can quickly turn into a contested divorce action. You do not want to be the spouse blindsided during a divorce. Hiring an attorney as early as possible during the process means you have someone on your side protecting your legal rights and best interests.

An experienced Orlando divorce lawyer helps you identify your goals for the divorce. They develop a strategy to protect you and your children by obtaining a divorce settlement that is in your best interests.

Additionally, your divorce attorney guides you through the process to make it less stressful and smoother. You must ensure you have the resources to begin your life as a single person again. An Orlando divorce attorney can help you do that.

Contact the Orlando Family and Divorce Law Firm of Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC for Help Today

For more information, contact our experienced Orlando divorce lawyers at Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC by calling (407) 831-0203 to schedule a free consultation.

Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC
815 N Magnolia Ave Suite 100
Orlando, FL 32803
United States

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