When a couple comes to the realization that their marriage is no longer working and decides to pursue a divorce, there are many decisions before them. One of the main decisions to make before filing for a divorce is whether to seek a contested or an uncontested divorce.
A contested divorce occurs when one or both parties fight the divorce itself, or cannot agree to a key decision necessary to complete the divorce process. A contested divorce is necessary when one spouse is absent, when one spouse doesn’t want to sign divorce papers, and when agreements can’t be made on essential provisions such as property division, alimony, child custody, and child support.
Conversely, uncontested divorces occur when both parties agree to the divorce and have come to a mutual agreement on all key decisions necessary to the divorce. This includes property division, alimony, child custody, and child support. If the couple can come to a fair agreement that leaves both parties in the best possible position, then there are distinct benefits to filing an uncontested divorce.
While all Alabama judges presiding over a divorce are seeking fairness, there is an inherent amount of uncertainty involved in leaving your divorce in the hands of someone else. While property division is based on equitable distribution, while alimony is intended to reflect the fairest possible outcome to all parties, and while all custody and child support is always decided by the best interests of the child, there is never a guarantee that the decisions made by a judge will reflect what each party wants and that those decisions will align with the couple’s priorities.
Because there is little court involvement, an uncontested divorce in the state of Alabama can usually be resolved in six to ten weeks. Contested divorces require a lot more steps and need to be adjudicated before a judge, so they generally take anywhere from a few months to years to become finalized. This, however, will always depend on the complexity of the case and the decisions involved.
Uncontested divorces are far less costly than contested ones. Generally, the only fees involved are attorney’s fees and court filing fees. These attorney’s fees are also much less costly because the whole process is quicker and doesn’t involve extensive preparation and courtroom representation. You can expect an attorney to bill far fewer hours in uncontested divorces when compared to contested divorces.
Contested or uncontested, a divorce is never an easy process. There is a misconception that it is only necessary to seek the advice of a skilled attorney in contested divorces, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, it is especially important to seek the assistance of an attorney in uncontested divorces as there isn’t a judge looking out for your best interests. Without an attorney, there is nobody checking to make sure that the agreement between you and your spouse is ultimately the fairest one possible.
A family law attorney can help ensure that you are receiving your rightful share of the property, that you receive any alimony you are entitled to, and that you have come to the best custody and child support arrangement possible. Additionally, an experienced family law attorney can ensure that all the paperwork necessary reaches the proper channels and people, ultimately saving you valuable time and money. Cullman’s Hankey Law Firm offers a comprehensive family law practice backed by over 55 years of combined experience in the field. If you need relentless advocacy in a heated contested divorce, we are prepared to provide that. If you need oversight and advice in an amicable divorce, we are also prepared to make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible. We proudly serve the people of Cullman, Blount, Winston, Madison, and Morgan counties. Contact us or call us at (256)-736-8744 and let us tailor our representation to best suit your needs.