What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

Posted by William Bly | Jul 02, 2015 | 0 Comments

Nobody wants to go through the pain of divorce, but staying within an unhappy union is even less palatable. Once you've decided to divorce, the easiest and least difficult way to move on with your life is to proceed with an "uncontested" divorce. This means that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse wish to divorce amicably without contention. While this might seem hard to do in the midst of the pain of separation, an uncontested divorce saves you heartache and money.

Emotion Behind Divorce

There is a tremendous amount to take into consideration when a couple separates, particularly if they've been married for a long time and had children within the union. The couple is divided, and all property attained during - and in some cases before - the marriage must be divided. If there are children under adult age, custody, child support and visitation rights must be established. And, spousal support might be necessary if one spouse is unable to maintain her or his standard of living when single.

Figuring out who gets what can become a complicated issue, especially if one of the partners doesn't want the divorce, or if both partners are filled with anger and bitterness. The ugly side of people tends to come out during the dissolution of a marriage, and this is what makes divorces difficult and expensive. It is nearly impossible not assess blame or to keep your emotions at bay when the person you vowed to be with "'til death" has harmed or wronged you, or has simply said he or she doesn't want to be with you anymore. Keeping your emotions at bay is a tall order, but this is exactly what you should attempt to do.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is a divorce where both of the parties agree amicably to the dissolution of the marriage and the final settlement. In most cases the couple divorces due to "irreconcilable differences," fault is not assessed, and the division of property is split amicably. In some cases, even arrangements surrounding the children can be made uncontested, and the divorce moves through the process quickly and easily, oftentimes without the need to for legal counsel.

In fact, an uncontested divorce does not go to trial, and the divorce can move toward finalization within 60 days after the paperwork has been served. In many cases, the divorcing couple reaches their divorce settlement together and might even draft said agreement on their own. If the couple struggles to reach a final agreement or simply desires help, they can work out the settlement in Maine's mandatory Case Management Conference or seek assistance in mediation.

Contested Divorce

Contested divorces are the ones you read about in the headlines. These divorces are ugly, place blame, and see the separating couple fighting over everything from the children to the family dog. Contested divorces are often filed as "fault" divorces in Maine, wherein one spouse contends that the dissolution of the marriage is due to the fault of the other spouse.

Alongside the character assassination attempts that each spouse makes upon the other, the property and children are drug into a long, drawn out battle that results in lifelong anger, hurt and scarring, as attorneys and the Maine courts are brought on board in an effort to sort through the hostile mess. If both spouses dig their heels in, the painful divorce process can take years to finalize.

Do the Math

The emotional implications of a contested versus an uncontested divorce aside, dissolution of marriage costs money, and an uncontested divorce will not hit the pocketbook quite as hard as the punch the contested divorce will pack.

As discussed above, if a couple can reach their final divorce agreement amicably, there is no need to bring attorneys into the mix or send the divorce to a court trial. This saves a tremendous amount of money in legal fees. Even if the couple needs help coming to a final agreement, mediation costs far less than trial, so an uncontested divorce not only saves emotional stress, it saves financial burden, as well.

A contested divorce oftentimes dissolved the marital property over which the parties are fighting within its own process. Attorneys are brought on board to fight for their client's rights, and the courts are dragged into the mix to, hopefully, issue the final order and end the drawn out drama. It doesn't take a mathematician to know that a contested divorce is going cost both parties dearly, as legal and court fees mount and reduce the couple's overall net worth.

This doesn't mean, however, that you should file for a do-it-yourself divorce and risk not receiving what is rightfully yours in your final settlement. If you have concerns over divorcing, you should still seek counsel focused on Maine family law. Seeking guidance from an attorney will not automatically turn your divorce into a contested one. You can still reach an amicable resolution to the dissolution of your marriage under the protective cover of a lawyer well-versed in Maine divorce procedure.

About the Author

William Bly

William T. Bly, Esq. is a graduate of Rutgers College where he majored in Political Science with a minor in U.S. History. Attorney Bly attended and graduated the University of Maine School of Law. During his time in law school, Attorney Bly focused on criminal defense.

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