You never expected that ending your marriage would be easy, but your spouse’s reaction was worse than you ever dreamed possible. You’d rather not even speak to them right now, let alone try to negotiate your split.
Should you just let the court make all the rulings in your divorce? Probably not.
Why is a contested divorce problematic?
When a couple can’t agree on the terms of their split, the divorce is called “contested.” In general, contested divorces are:
- More expensive. The fees and costs associated with every court motion, every meeting with an attorney and all the assorted hearings that will be held are much higher than in an uncontested divorce. Even using a mediator to iron out any sticking points can be cheaper.
- More public. An uncontested divorce is largely a private matter. When you go to court, almost everything that happens is a matter of record. That can be unpleasant if you value your privacy or worry about how the circumstances of your divorce may affect your reputation.
- Far slower. When you’re waiting on a contested divorce, you’re at the mercy of the court’s schedule. Some divorces have dragged on for years. If you want to move on quickly, an uncontested divorce is the way to go.
- Less satisfying. Nobody “wins” a divorce. In a contested divorce, the court will apply standards that may not reflect your family’s situation or needs. With an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse may both walk away happier with the outcome because it’s under your control.
Roughly 95% of divorces eventually proceed through the court as “uncontested,” no matter how acrimonious they started. There are times, of course, when an uncontested divorce is the only way to go — particularly when a spouse is completely unreasonable, determined to be punitive or is outright dangerous. Unless those situations apply, however, you may want to sit your spouse down and try to get them to understand the advantages of working together as you pull apart.