What Happens After Divorce Papers Are Served? Answers for Uncontested and Contested Divorces

What is an uncontested divorce?

There are two kinds of divorces: contested and uncontested. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses agree on everything and do not need the court to divide assets or make determinations about spousal or child support or custody. In general, an uncontested divorce will proceed through the system more quickly, be much less complicated, and less of a financial burden on both parties.  An uncontested divorce means that the couple has settled all disputed issues out of court without the requirement of judicial involvement.

The steps for an uncontested divorce generally require serving your spouse with a divorce petition then filing appropriate paperwork with the court in the county where you live, reaching a settlement with your spouse, going to court with the appropriate paperwork and obtaining a court ruling that legally recognizes your divorce and enters your agreement/settlement into the legal system.

What is a contested divorce?

A contested divorce is one in which the parties cannot agree, either about getting divorced or about the terms of the divorce. The terms that are contested may include how to divide assets and split debts, as well as issues surrounding alimony, child support, or the custody of children.

A contested divorce is a more complex, expensive process as it involves the courts making decisions each step of the way.  Often spouses who begin the process of a contested divorce reach agreement before going to trial and agree to a settlement.  When this happens it is essential that the settlement be filed so that it becomes legally binding and enforceable.

A contested divorce takes a more complex route after your spouse is served with a petition for divorce.  In order to terminate a marriage, spouses must agree on a settlement.  When spouses cannot agree on one or more key issues, even with a divorce lawyer, then the court must adjudicate their dispute.  In a contested divorce it is the court that decides issues of child custody, child support, property division, asset distribution and debt allocation as well as alimony and temporary spousal support.

A divorce lawyer in Hemet can be particularly helpful to assist you in understanding the timing and steps involved with this process, whether the divorce is contested or uncontested.

Ideally most couples would prefer an uncontested divorce as there are many advantages, and many begin with the thought that they will be successful obtaining an uncontested divorce.  But the reality of divorce and all the things that it entails often requires the help and skill of an attorney like a Hemet divorce lawyer.