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Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce: What’s the Difference?

by | Aug 9, 2023 | Divorce, Family Law | 0 comments

Going through a divorce is never easy. Numerous decisions must be made, such as those relating to marital assets, child support, custody, and more. As such, even if both parties want the divorce, it’s not uncommon for there to be disagreements when it comes to the terms of the divorce. And whether the parties agree or disagree is what determines if the divorce is contested or uncontested. 

At Zentz & Roberts, P.C., our attorneys understand how difficult divorce can be and are here for you every step of the way. For help with your case, contact our Indiana divorce attorneys for a free consultation today. 

What is a Contested Divorce?

contested divorceA contested divorce in Indiana is one where the parties do not see eye to eye, and they cannot come to an agreement on the terms of the divorce. In this case, one spouse typically contests (disputes) the other spouse’s divorce petition, which means the divorce will require mediation and/or be taken to trial.

During mediation, the attorneys and an impartial third party will work with the divorcing couple to try to negotiate a settlement agreement. The mediator will not, however, choose sides or make any decisions for the parties. 

If an agreement is not reached during mediation, then the parties will have to proceed to trial. During the trial, there will be a presentation of information such as testimonies and exhibits, and then the judge will make a final decision regarding the parties’ outstanding issues. 

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce is one where there is no disagreement or dispute regarding the divorce. In other words, an uncontested divorce is one where both parties agree on all of the terms of the divorce. 

Uncontested divorces are often easier and cheaper because the parties can avoid the cost of mediation and litigation. In Indiana, if the spouses agree on all issues, they can lay them out in a Marital Settlement Agreement, and the court can then enter a decree to dissolve the marriage without the need for a trial. 

What is the Difference Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce?

The primary difference in a contested vs. uncontested divorce is whether or not the parties agree. However, another difference worth pointing out is the time and money it takes to finalize the divorce. 

As a contested divorce can lead to mediation or a court trial, they generally take longer and are more expensive. With an uncontested divorce, however, the process can go much quicker since both parties agree. At minimum, an uncontested divorce will take 60 days as Indiana courts are required to wait 60 days after a Petition for Dissolution is filed before they can enter a final Decree of Dissolution. 

However, it’s also worth noting that just because a contested divorce takes longer and costs more doesn’t mean it isn’t the right choice. There can be advantages to choosing a contested divorce.

For example, if you think your spouse is hiding assets and their terms are unfair, it may be worth contesting the divorce petition and going to trial. When the case goes to trial, hidden assets can be discovered through a process known as discovery, which can then lead to a more favorable outcome. 

Reaching Terms in a Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

It’s important to understand that the judge will have the final say in all divorces. Still, if the divorce is uncontested, a judge will likely have less of a say than if there is a dispute, and it is up to them to decide how the outstanding issues will be resolved. 

If the divorce is uncontested, it is more likely that you and your spouse will be able to reach an amicable agreement without a judge needing to get involved. If your divorce is contested, settling the terms out of court is possible, but a judge will still have to approve the final terms. 

Zentz & Roberts: Experienced Divorce Attorney in Indiana 

At Zentz & Roberts, we ensure our clients get the attention and professional services they need when dealing with difficult family issues like divorce. Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, we can help you navigate this trying time and ensure the best possible outcome.

Contact the Indianapolis family law attorneys at Zentz & Roberts today for a free consultation by visiting us online or calling us at 317-220-6056.  

***Please note: This page is not intended to give specific legal advice but is meant for information purposes only. Contact us to discuss your case***