You’ve probably heard the term “uncontested divorce,” but what does it really mean? Here’s what you need to know about contested and uncontested divorces.
Do you intend to get divorced simply and quietly? If you’re part of a couple with no need for legal offices, courtrooms and a lengthy battle, then you might qualify for an uncontested divorce.
Popular media often portrays divorce as a lengthy, expensive legal and personal battle. But for many couples, divorce is far less dramatic, at least by the end.
Whether your divorce is amicable or you simply agree on the crucial details, an uncontested divorce might be your best option. Learn the difference between an uncontested divorce and a contested one, and how they impact you and yours.
An uncontested divorce is a legal type designed for couples who agree to get a divorce and see eye-to-eye on the essential terms.
To file for an uncontested divorce, you both must agree on:
- Details of child custody (if applicable)
- Child support and expenses (including insurance)
- Division of finances and marital assets (and debts)
- Tax deductions
- Alimony (if applicable)
If you both agree on who gets what and when, you can likely skip the courtroom.
Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce moves more quickly than a contested one.
First, the only State of Nebraska divorce rule that applies is the residency requirement. At least one of you must live in Nebraska for an entire year before you can file for divorce here.
In a contested divorce, you must wait for a court date. A contested divorce averages six months to settle, but waiting to appear before a judge can add months or longer to the process.
Second, an uncontested divorce costs less. There’s less work to do, there are no court appearance fees and everything wraps up more quickly.
Some attorneys even accept flat fees because uncontested divorces are primarily procedural.
You Still Must Provide Grounds
An uncontested divorce keeps you out of court, but you still need to provide a cause.
You must show your marriage is irreparably broken because of a legal reason acknowledged in Nebraska.
Thankfully, Nebraska is a no-fault state. You don’t need to prove your spouse committed abuse or adultery to file for divorce. So long as you can show your marriage is over, you can file.
Uncontested Lets You Decide Together
Whether your marriage ends amicably, reasonably or is a inescapable battlefield, Nebraska follows the rules of equitable division.
No matter why or how you file, each of you owns the income you earned while you were married. You each also keep property that’s solely in your names and isn’t “joint property.”
Whether an uncontested divorce allows more favorable terms for joint property is up to you. But it enables you to handle the issue as a couple rather than leaving it up to a judge, who may determine fairness differently than you see it.
A contested divorce occurs when you and your spouse can’t agree on one or more important issues raised during the process.
In other words, a contested divorce involves dispute.
Whether it’s asset division, custody or something else that interferes, your inability to agree could result with you in conflict before a court.
One Disputed Point
A single sticking point – no matter how small – leads to a contested divorce if neither of you budges.
For example, if you agree on the custody and the division of assets but not on alimony, then you have a contested divorce unless you solve it yourselves.
Some couples think because their divorce began contested, it must remain so. That’s not true. Some couples start uncontested but file a contested divorce, and vice versa.
Many couples ultimately settle. Your divorce is only officially contested when you complete the divorce in court. Then again, some people settle their divorce even as they argue their cases.
Signals of a Forthcoming Contested Divorce
Even couples who appear to have it all figured out can see their divorce become a (hotly) contested event. There are some signs that you could be heading down that path.
- Your spouse (seriously) lawyers up
If your spouse hires a divorce lawyer who acts like a pit bull, you’re more likely to see a courtroom.
Tough lawyers make huge, often unreasonable demands that are hard to negotiate and even harder to stomach. If your spouse follows such advice, you may need to go to court to bring them back to the center.
- No escape from emotional rollercoaster
Another tell-tale sign of a contested divorce is the inability of one or both parties to control their emotions.
Divorces will almost always be emotional, and feelings don’t create conflict. But when emotions rule the day, it can lead to complicated or taciturn arrangements that are difficult to settle on your own.
End Your Marriage on Your Terms
An uncontested divorce is an aspiration for many couples. It’s cheaper, more accessible and wraps up faster so you can find a new sense of normalcy.
Just because the end of your relationship includes conflict doesn’t mean your divorce will end that way. At the same time, small issues can cause significant roadblocks for couples ending their marriage.
Are you considering a divorce and seeking options? Whether you already have the paperwork or you’re unsure if it’s even possible, you need to know your divorce options.
Have questions? Need help? Call your local trusted divorce professionals at Husker Law today at (402)415-2525.