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Contested Divorce vs. Uncontested Divorce in Missouri

The Difference Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce

Divorce can be a very painful life changing event. With emotions running high, it can be difficult for a divorcing couple to agree about issues including custody of their children, division of their marital assets and debts, maintenance or alimony to one party, and child support. If they cannot come to an agreement outside of court, it can result in a lengthy and expensive divorce. This can lead to increased stress for all involved. Retaining an experienced Saint Louis, Missouri divorce lawyer before filing for divorce will make the process smoother and save you money. It will also prevent one party from being taken advantage of by the more dominant or controlling spouse.

There are two basic types of divorces:

  1. A contested divorce is one in which the divorcing couple cannot agree on issues such as child support, custody of children, alimony, distribution of debt, or division of property. In a contested divorce, the couple must ultimately take these issues to court to be decided. This may prolong the divorce process and result in higher legal costs. However, if one party is being unreasonable or the parties simply cannot come to an agreement on all issues, then both sides will have a chance to present their evidence to the Judge and have the Judge rule on their case.
  2. An uncontested divorce means that both spouses are able to agree on these issues and negotiate the divorce terms without having a trial. They generally move more quickly through the system and are less expensive than contested divorces. However, the perceived simplicity of uncontested divorces can result in problems when couples opt for a “do-it-yourself” divorce instead of consulting with an experienced St. Louis, MO divorce attorney.

Many couples think they have reached an agreement on all issues, only to find out that they did not deal with all of the details that need to be included in a settlement agreement. Even if you and your spouse have reached a verbal agreement on most issues, it is still wise to have an experienced St. Louis family law attorney review the agreement to determine if all of the issues have been dealt with. A settlement agreement entered into between the parties must still be reviewed and approved by a Judge before it becomes part of the Judgment and Decree of Dissolution (Divorce Decree).

Uncontested Divorce or Contested Divorce?

Despite the advantages of an uncontested divorce, sometimes a contested divorce is a better option. This is often the case in more complicated divorces with couples who have significant assets or when a prenuptial agreement is involved and one party wants to enforce the agreement and the other party claims the prenup is invalid and not enforceable. Contested divorces may also be better in situations where there is spousal abuse or when spouses are not on speaking terms.

Divorce proceedings can become very complicated, especially when children or substantial property are involved, so it is advisable to talk to an attorney before filing for divorce. If you are considering a divorce, it is important to have an experienced divorce attorney on your side.

Call Page Law to Discuss Your Divorce Options in Missouri

If you have questions about your divorce options in Missouri, St. Louis divorce lawyer Tonya Page can help. Call (314) 322-8515 today for a confidential case evaluation. Divorce is always difficult. Having a skilled divorce attorney on your side can have a positive impact on the length, cost, and outcome of your divorce.

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