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3 reasons divorces become contested

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2023 | Family Law

Divorce is said to be “uncontested” when the couple is willing to work together to craft their own agreements about all the issues that must be decided, including things like the division of assets and debts, matters of support, and custody of the children.

Uncontested divorces are largely the norm since they’re usually quicker, easier, and less stressful than “contested” (litigated) divorces that go before a judge. They’re also vastly cheaper. A contested divorce that has to have the court step in on two or more issues costs around $23,300, while the average uncontested divorce only costs about $4,100.

Sometimes, an uncontested divorce just isn’t in the cards

Given the advantages of an uncontested divorce, why would anybody ever go the other route? Well, divorces usually become contested for the following reasons:

  1. One spouse refuses to be reasonable: You can’t come to an amicable agreement all by yourself. Sometimes a spouse is so angry about the circumstances of a divorce that they refuse to cooperate with the negotiation process. Other times, they may drag out the process as a way of avoiding the reality of the situation. Either way, you may have to litigate to move things forward.
  2. There are questions about marital property: Property division can get complicated, especially when couples can’t agree on what should and shouldn’t be considered part of the marital estate or the value or certain assets. Litigation can also be necessary if you suspect that your spouse is trying to conceal assets to avoid dividing them.
  3. There are issues with the children: If you and your spouse have fundamentally different ideas about what’s best for your children, that can easily lead to litigation. While shared parenting plans have become the norm in many jurisdictions, they’re not right for every situation.

It’s always best to hope for an uncontested divorce and work in that direction. If things get complicated, however, you don’t have to be afraid of litigation with the right legal guidance by your side.