When it comes to divorce, there are generally two ways to go about it and, while both ultimately result in the same endgame, the pathway can be dramatically different. Depending on the specific circumstances and the dynamic between divorcing spouses, they might either have to take their case through the process of litigation in a contested divorce, or reach a settlement that keeps them out of court in an uncontested divorce. If you are considering a divorce, it is important for you to understand what both of these entail.
First, remember all states offer no-fault divorces, which essentially means that either party can obtain a divorce without having to provide a specific reason why, other than simply claiming “irreconcilable differences.” Therefore, issues like adultery or abandonment are not necessary if you are eager to untie the knot.
When both parties are able to work out all the issues pertaining to a divorce, it is known as an uncontested divorce. Issues they must reach an agreement on include child custody, child support, property and asset division, alimony, any other pertinent matters that require a resolution. Even if they are able to agree on all but one of these issues, it will become a contested divorce.
If all issues are addressed and agreed upon, however, the most difficult part of the divorce process will be complete. Divorces generally only go through litigation when it is impossible for spouses to agree on these matters, so once the heavy lifting is done, all that is left is to put it to paper and make it formal. Uncontested divorces are ideal simply because it allows both parties to speedily and amicably obtain a divorce and move on while incurring fewer expenses than those involved in a contested divorce case.
Even if spouses are able to reach a favorable settlement on their own, it is still advisable that they both retail separate legal representation to ensure their interests are both served. Without a thorough knowledge of divorce law, it can be easy to unknowingly make a costly mistake, or even for one spouse to take advantage of the other.
When spouses cannot agree on the terms of a divorce, it becomes a contested divorce. Typically, issues often arise when it comes to valuing and distributing marital assets, awarding alimony, determining the time each parent can spend with their children, and the value of child support payments. Spouses might be able to agree on one or a couple of issues, but as long as something remains unresolved, it will be considered a contested divorce.
The process for filing a contested divorce starts with a lawsuit, followed by a counter-suit and discovery, after which they must go through mediation to attempt to resolve the terms of which they still have not been able to reach an agreement. If even after the process of mediation, they are unable to settle, there will be a hearing or trial on the unresolved issues.
Contested divorces can become a lengthy process, requiring multiple court appearances and time spent researching the other spouse’s finances. If a marriage involved particularly complex financial issues, such as a business, it will require a fair amount of resources to uncover all the facts. If possible, it is almost always better for both parties to try their best to compromise and work together toward securing a settlement that meets both their needs and desires. Nevertheless, court is an option. Keep in mind that decisions regarding some of the most important issues will be left up to a judge if your divorce ends up going through litigation and it is possible for both of you to be unhappy with the result.
Divorce Lawyer in Fort Walton Beach
Regardless if you end up with an uncontested or contested divorce, the decision to split from your spouse is a major one and often emotionally tumultuous. You might be excited about starting a new life, or terrified of what the uncertain future holds. Whatever the case may be, know that you should not go through this process alone. At The Virga Law Firm, P.C., we have been representing individuals going through divorce for years, dedicating ourselves to protecting the rights of individuals, whether they go through litigation or not. Our team has over 40 years of combined experience and are committed to making this process run as smoothly as possible, with as little stress as possible.
At The Virga Law Firm, P.C., we have proven ourselves as an established family law firm, representing clients throughout Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton Counties. Divorce is not easy, which is why securing the right representation is crucial to ensuring your best interests are served. We even provide clients our personal phone numbers to assure them we are here to answer questions or concerns around the clock.
Contact us today at (850) 257-7086 to schedule a consultation with a skilled member of our legal team.