Contested or Uncontested

(That is the Question)

I really don’t like the terms “contested” and “uncontested”.  Better terms are agreeable or disagreeable.  In an uncontested divorce you agree on all the issues concerning the end of your marriage or as lawyers will sometimes refer to as the “dissolution of your marriage.”  So, in an uncontested divorce, the two of you have agreed on who’s going to get the house, who will be the primary caretaker for the kids, how much child support will be, who’s going to pay the JC Penny credit card bill, and who gets to keep the flat screen TV.  And everything else in between.  In fact, if there is anything you don’t agree on, then you don’t have an uncontested divorce.  So, if you agree on everything except who gets the flat screen, guess what, you don’t have an uncontested divorce.  You have a contested, or disagreeable divorce.

            A contested divorce can be confined to one simple issue such as who is going to get the flat screen TV, but typically it’s not.  Your contested divorce may start out that way, but odds are you will end up fighting about everything.  Maybe you won’t, but don’t be surprised if you do.  Contested divorces are the ones you hear the most about.  The really ugly ones, the heartbreaking ones, usually involve kids.  The ones that tend to garner the most media attention usually involve lots of money. 

            The biggest differences between contested and uncontested divorces are time and money.  Uncontested divorces are a whole lot quicker and cost much less than a contested divorce.  In Georgia, an uncontested divorce can happen in as little as 31 days. It’s not uncommon at all for a contested divorce to last a year.    Some last two or three years, depending on how much money the parties have to fight each other.