Contested Vs. Uncontested Divorce - What Is The Difference?

Besides being emotionally intolerable and disquieting, a divorce can also be technically confusing and legally complex. As a result, many couples feel overwhelmed by the additional burden of lack of knowledge during such a difficult phase of their life. This lack of knowledge and inability to understand the divorce procedure on your own may lead to numerous delays in obtaining a divorce decree. On the other hand, if you have competent family lawyers by your side, the process will be smooth and the hard time will pass as quickly as the blink of an eye.

One of the biggest challenges an average couple faces during the divorce process is understanding the legal jargon and terminology. While it is easy to comprehend what terms like alimony, domestic violence, and mediation mean, it is hard to understand what befalls under marital property, equitable distribution, fault/no-fault divorce, and contested/uncontested divorce.

Do not worry. While browsing through our site and informative blogs, you will most likely find the meaning of all these terms. But for this particular blog, we want to help you apprehend the difference between contested and uncontested divorce. In this regard, it is essential to note that the latter is different from fault and no-fault divorce. These terminologies are often used interchangeably, but mean entirely different things.

Fault and no-fault refer to the grounds behind a divorce, such as an incompatibility between spouses, irreversible marriage deterioration, and adultery. On the other hand, contested and uncontested divorce refers to the level of agreement between a couple regarding the grounds and other aspects of the divorce.

Let us discuss the latter in detail:

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is what you would call a ‘positive’ divorce in simpler words. When a couple files for an uncontested divorce, it refers to the fact that both parties have amicably been able to sort out all issues that need to be determined through a divorce judgment. That means through mutual understanding, both you and your spouse agree on all issues, including alimony, division of property and debt, child decision-making, and child support. These terms of consensuses are then shaped into a formal divorce or separation agreement which will be filed in court.

In order to file for a joint divorce petition, both of you must fill in the required paperwork and documentation. First, you will fill in your individual financial statements and complete a parenting course if you have kids. Once all of this has been completed, you may file for divorce in your local family court. You will receive a hearing date on which you will put forth your agreement and petition before a judge. Upon determining the reasonability and fairness of the agreement, the judge will approve it.

Within four to six months of the latter, you will be holding a divorce decree. You can get the detailed information regarding the application process and divorce grounds on the Canadian government’s official site.

Contested Divorce

In contrast to the situation depicted above, some couples may have a hard time agreeing on a few aspects such as child guardianship, alimony payments, division of assets, etc. In this case, one of the spouses files for a contested divorce and requests the court to step in and decide on the unagreeable matters. Unlike uncontested divorce hearings, which barely last for a few minutes, contested divorce hearings can take several days.

One of the major differences between these two is in the issuance of the Nisi Judgment. In an uncontested divorce, the judge issues a Nisi Judgment immediately after they approve the agreement presented by the spouses. However, in this case, the Nisi Judgment can only be issued after six months have passed. However, if spouses agree on the terms of the divorce within these six months, the divorce basis may be changed to uncontested. If not, then the whole process may take anything between six to thirty-six months.

Another potentially unpleasant aspect of a contested divorce route is that the trial is held in a courtroom where the general public is allowed to stand. Thus, the confidentiality of both spouses is somewhat compromised. You wouldn’t want strangers to hear about your family’s problems, now would you?

Which Route Is More Suitable?

From the discussions above, you might have guessed it already. To be honest, the contested route is full of challenges and quite lengthy. Imagine burdening yourself and your innocent children with these uncertainties for about three years. Truly, the latter does not sound very appealing. Therefore, we suggest you take the uncontested route for everyone’s well-being.

How Can Peak Family Law Help?

Regardless of the route you undertake, the complexity of the process necessitates legal representation and expert advice. Peak Family Law has helped numerous families reach consensus without undergoing the nasty blaming stage. Contact us now for a smooth family dispute resolution.

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