Choosing Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce

September 28, 2016 Posted in Divorce

It would be illogical to expect that the marital disagreements that lead to divorce would suddenly disappear so the parties might easily negotiate a variety of important settlement issues. Yet, each year, countless divorcing couples successfully negotiate the settlements needed to move forward with new lives.

Choosing between contested and uncontested divorce is an important decision. Since either method is appropriate under specific conditions, it is vital to discuss the details of your situation with an experienced Dallas divorce attorney who can educate you on what to expect.

Reasons Why Uncontested Divorce is Common

As their names imply, the difference between contested and uncontested divorces largely boils down to the ability of both parties to reach agreements. The fact is that, even when issues are quite serious, divorce lawyers often use many methods that help guide the parties toward agreement. When appropriate, uncontested divorce can offer significant advantages, such as the following:

  • Control: Perhaps the most important advantage of uncontested divorce is the ability for the involved parties to retain control over the details of their settlement. While there are definitely times when decisions must be left to a court, those decisions are largely impersonal based on a variety of guidelines that may not consider important facts about any individual case.
  • Speed: Texas waiting periods mean that no divorce can take place within a few days or weeks. However, reaching an agreement in uncontested divorce negotiations generally takes less time than waiting for a case to reach the court docket. Unfortunately, many courtroom cases return to the courts — often more than once.
  • Costs: Every day spent in court costs money. Also, legal fees are often significantly less. As a general rule, attorney time is used more efficiently when preparing for and overseeing their clients’ interests in negotiation meetings rather than preparing and presenting cases for courtroom trials.
  • Family stress: Since the purpose of negotiation is to identify areas of agreement and formulate solutions when compromise is required, the process tends to compel both parties to develop a cooperative spirit. The meetings are typically less stressful, and cooperative parents often reduce the stress levels for their children, as well.

Contested Divorce Presents the Best Alternative in Some Situations

Unfortunately, not all parties have the capacity to reach a cooperative agreement. In some cases, the relationships have deteriorated to a point where they cannot agree on the color of the sky, much less where the children should reside or how to divide the family business. Additionally, serious issues — like emotional or physical abuse or extreme financial disparity — creates a severe imbalance of power that can lead to unfair settlements.

An experienced divorce attorney has the sensitivity that encourages clients to enter into the frank conversations needed to identify the most beneficial approach. For the compassionate guidance you need from the start, please feel free to contact us to schedule a paid initial consultation at your convenience.