A Difficult Divorce Negotiation

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce: Which Is Right for You? 

The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer Jan. 10, 2023

Going through a divorce can be a difficult and complicated process, especially if you live in the state of California. When it comes to filing for divorce in California, there are two main types: contested and uncontested.  

If you are contemplating a divorce or are already in the process of getting divorced, reach out to our divorce attorneys at The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer. We can help you understand the differences between contested and uncontested divorces and explain which option is right for you. With offices in Morgan Hill and San Jose, California, we represent individuals and couples throughout the state, including Fremont, Pleasanton, Alameda County, Santa Clara County, and Hayworth.  

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?  

An uncontested divorce is when both spouses agree on all matters of the divorce, such as the division of property, child custody and visitation rights, spousal support (if applicable), etc. This type of divorce typically takes less time than a contested one and costs less money because it doesn't involve any court hearings or formal negotiations. 

What Is a Contested Divorce?  

A contested divorce occurs when one or both spouses do not agree on some or all matters concerning the divorce. This type of divorce requires court hearings and negotiations between the two parties to reach an agreement on these issues. As a result, it can take longer to settle than an uncontested one. Additionally, contested divorces are more expensive due to legal fees associated with attending court hearings and negotiating settlements. 

Which One Is Right for Me?  

When deciding whether you should choose a contested or uncontested divorce in California, there are several factors you need to consider, including whether there are significant disagreements between you and your partner. 

While most couples automatically choose uncontested divorce because it does not require court intervention and is generally less expensive, there are several situations in which it may be more appropriate to choose contested over uncontested divorce: 

  • Significant disagreements. The most obvious sign that a couple should pursue a contested divorce rather than an uncontested divorce is when there are significant disagreements about various aspects of the separation. For example, if one spouse wants full custody of the children while the other does not agree, then a contested divorce may be necessary. Similarly, if one spouse wishes to remain in the family home but cannot come to an agreement with their partner on who will keep it after divorce, that would likely require a contested approach. It is also important to note here that even if two people have already decided not to contest some issues in their marriage, they can still go for a contested approach regarding other unresolved matters.  

  • Complex financial situations. It can be difficult enough trying to split up finances without having any major disagreements between spouses. However, when financial situations become more complex due to investments or business dealings involving multiple parties, then it may be best for divorcing couples to pursue a contested approach. If you and your partner cannot reach an agreement on how financial assets should be divided up during your divorce, then you may need legal help from experienced attorneys who can mediate these conversations and ultimately make sure both parties receive fair treatment regarding this matter.   

  • No agreements reached after mediation.  Couples may attempt mediation before filing for either type of divorce. However, if no agreement has been reached after several attempts at negotiating with each other through mediation sessions, then pursuing a contested approach may be inevitable. In addition to this being necessary in cases where there are genuine disagreements between partners on certain matters like property division or child custody arrangements, seeking legal help through a contested approach may also be beneficial if one party believes they are being treated unfairly throughout the negotiation process. This way, they can ensure that their rights are protected under California law and that any potential settlement is equitable for both sides involved.   

Whether you choose to pursue a contested or uncontested divorce, it is important that you hire a skilled family law attorney who specializes in California law to represent you throughout the process. A lawyer will help ensure that your rights are protected throughout the entire process and that you get the best possible outcome from your settlement. 

Trusted Legal Guidance   

Being aware of the differences between contested and uncontested divorces in California can help you make informed decisions about your own situation. Our divorce attorneys at The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer can help you choose between a contested vs. uncontested divorce based on the details of your case. Contact our office for a free consultation.