Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce: Which One Is Right for Me?
When it comes to divorce, it is important to understand the different options available to you. In Kentucky, two of those options are contested and uncontested divorce. But what exactly do these terms mean, and what steps are required to pursue a contested or uncontested divorce?
Our divorce attorneys at The Berger Firm help clients file for contested and uncontested divorces in Kentucky. We can help you choose between these two types of divorce based on your unique circumstances. With an office in Covington, Kentucky, we also serve all of Northern Kentucky, including Florence and Newport. If you need divorce support, reach out to us today and schedule a meeting for support.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce is when both parties agree on all aspects of the divorce, including the division of assets, custody, and support issues. The process is typically faster, less expensive, and less hostile than a contested divorce. Once you and your partner sign an agreement, the court review and approve it. If everything is in order, a judge will issue a final decree of divorce.
In Kentucky, at least one of the parties must have lived in the state for at least 180 days. In addition, the two spouses must have lived apart for at least 60 days before the final decree of divorce can be issued. You may still be eligible to file for divorce even if you lived in the same residence, as long as there was no “sexual cohabitation.” Furthermore, to be eligible for an uncontested divorce, both parties must agree to the terms of the divorce in writing.
To file for an uncontested divorce in Kentucky, you must first fill out and file a petition for dissolution of marriage. In the reason for divorce, you need to state that “the marriage is irretrievably broken.” Submit your written and signed separation agreement when filing the petition.
Then you must provide your spouse with a copy of the petition, along with any other paperwork required by the court. If your spouse agrees to the terms, the process can continue forward. Otherwise, it will instantly become a contested divorce.
What Is a Contested Divorce?
A contested divorce is when one or both parties cannot reach an agreement on multiple issues (or even just one issue) related to the divorce, such as child custody or asset division. Because this type of divorce requires more court involvement, a contested divorce can be more expensive, more hostile, and take more time to resolve. A judge usually makes the final decision.
The process of filing for contested divorce is the same as for uncontested divorce. However, a contested divorce is more common in situations where one party is unhappy with the terms of the divorce agreement, or when the other party is reluctant to collaborate on the details.
Like the process for filing an uncontested divorce, a contested divorce is initiated by filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. A copy of the petition must then be served to your spouse. If a spouse responds to the petition admitting to all terms, then the divorce continues as an uncontested divorce. But if not, a hearing may be held where both parties and their attorneys present arguments and evidence. After the hearing, a judge will decide the final terms of the divorce.
Which One Is Right for Me?
Contested divorces can be stressful and challenging, but there are some situations where they may be the best choice:
One spouse has concealed assets;
There has been abuse in the marriage;
The couple has significant disagreements that cannot be reconciled;
The other spouse has unrealistic expectations or is unwilling to compromise; or,
The couple cannot reach an agreement through mediation or negotiation.
While uncontested divorces may be less common, they may be the better choice for some couples. If the couple is able to come to an agreement about all aspects of their divorce, an uncontested divorce will save time, stress, and money. Additionally, if the couple has a history of cooperation and respect, and they want to keep it as amicable as possible, uncontested divorces may be the better option. In any scenario, it is best to seek help from an experienced attorney who can help ensure that the process goes smoothly.
Knowledgeable & Skilled Legal Guidance
If you are considering ending your marriage and are not sure whether you should file for a contested or uncontested divorce, your best option is to consult with an attorney. Our divorce attorneys at The Berger Firm can provide you with skilled legal guidance and answer any specific questions you may have. Use our submission form to tell us about your case. We will then reach out to you to schedule a free consultation.