In Florida, any couple that wants a divorce must file a petition for Dissolution of Marriage. If they can agree on all or most major issues, they may sign a Marital Settlement Agreement, that details how they have agreed on all the major issues in the divorce. If children are involved, they may also devise a Parenting Plan, which states the rights and obligations both parents have concerning issues involving shared parental responsibility, timesharing, child support, health insurance, extra-curricular activities, decision making authority and other applicable parenting issues.
However, couples may not always agree on all of the major issues involved in their divorce.
If you’re about to file for a divorce, understanding the differences between a contested and uncontested divorce can help you make an informed decision about the best way to proceed.
What Are the Elements of a Contested Divorce?
In a contested divorce, a couple is unable to come to an agreement on the major issues of a divorce, which may include the division of assets, spousal support, parental responsibility, timesharing and child support, if children are involved.
As a result, the Court will require the couple to mediate to settle those differences, and if they are still unable to do so, a family court judge will make the final decision on all outstanding issues.
A divorce is referred to as ‘contested’ even if a couple disagrees over one issue, but it is typically easier for a couple to resolve one issue of contention through mediation as opposed to litigating multiple issues that remain unresolved.
What Are the Elements of An Uncontested Divorce?
In an uncontested divorce, a couple has settled all major issues in a divorce without having to go to court, and presents a Marital Settlement Agreement, and a Parenting Plan, when children are involved, to a judge, who reviews the agreement, and finalizes the divorce.
When children are involved in the divorce process, there are often contentious issues to resolve such as shared parental responsibility, timesharing and child support. Therefore, making a concerted effort, from both spouses, to devise a practical and fair co-parenting plan, is key to obtaining a successful uncontested divorce.
Because you have worked diligently on compromise and fairness, uncontested divorces tend to move much faster through the court system, especially because you will not have to schedule a court appearance, which can take weeks or months, depending on the court’s docket.
The Benefits of An Experienced Divorce Lawyer
Divorce issues can range from being amicable and straight-forward, to complex and challenging. Therefore, it is advisable to always seek the representation of a knowledgeable and experienced family lawyer. The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. has extensive experience and unparalleled dedication to our clients who are facing divorce issues. Please call us today at 561-655-8844 to schedule a confidential consultation.