Uncontested Versus Contested Divorce in Pennsylvania

April 26, 2019

Divorce is a common fact of life and happens across all ages and demographic groups. In the United States more than 827,000 people divorced in 2016, according to Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) statistics.

Divorce falls broadly into two categories, which are based on the level of agreement or disagreement between the divorcing spouses. One of the most basic things to know about divorce are the two types, and the significance of each.

Uncontested Divorce

The first type, an uncontested divorce, is essentially what the name says: neither party contests the agreed upon terms of the divorce. An uncontested divorce can clearly save time, angst, court involvement, and money for both parties.

Is it always possible? Unfortunately, no. Particularly when there are serious disagreements involving child custody, property, or even domestic abuse. However, for those entering into a relatively amicable split, an uncontested divorce is worth considering.

In an uncontested divorce, the spouses work out an agreement together on the key aspects of property, alimony, assets and debts, and in some cases child custody matters as well. The parties develop a framework or written settlement for how they wish to proceed and agree on each of these aspects without contesting them in a court.

Potentially, an uncontested divorce can mean less money spent hiring individual divorce lawyers, less time awaiting court dates, and less emotional upheaval from a bitter and contentious battle. It is still recommended to obtain the experienced advice of a skilled Chester County family law lawyer, rather than taking the legal risk of representing yourself.

However, the reduced time an attorney will spend on a case where the couple arrives with a basic set of agreed upon terms means financial savings as well.

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce, as one might assume, is therefore a divorce where the parties do not agree and must proceed through the courts for a fair settlement and terms. A contested divorce is sometimes inevitable when there are irrevocable disagreements over distribution of property/finances and child custody.

A contested divorce requires each party to hire a lawyer who will represent their interests in court and ensure their rights are protected. There are obviously cases where the parties will not reasonably come to an agreement, and in these cases divorce proceedings will incur cost and time – but may simply be necessary based on the individual circumstances.

The Best Option?

So which type if divorce is preferable? Clearly if at all possible, a nonconfrontational joint solution is ideal, and has the noted benefits of saving time, costs, and stress.

If you believe an uncontested divorce is something you and your spouse can work towards, an experienced Chester County family law lawyer can help guide you through the divorce process.

Chester County Family Law Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Assist with Contested and Uncontested Divorces

The Chester County family law lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. have a record of success in representing our clients in family law matters, including contested and uncontested divorces. Please contact us through our online form or call 610-565-3701 for your individual consultation. From our offices in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we proudly represent clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.