Understanding Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce in Tennessee

When a married couple divorces, they typically have to make vital decisions regarding debt and asset division, custody, child support, alimony, and a host of other important matters.

Choosing when to fight and when to negotiate is one of the most important strategic choices you make during the divorce process. In Tennessee, there are two main types of divorces; contested and uncontested.

It’s crucial to have a skilled divorce attorney on your side that will ensure your interests are protected in a contested or uncontested divorce. Today we’ll take a closer look at the intricacies of contested and uncontested divorce and help you better understand where a lawyer can help you move forward.

What Is A Contested Divorce?

Tennessee considers a divorce contested if there is an ongoing disagreement between the couple on significant issues. You must settle the following issues before the court will issue a divorce decree:

  • Grounds for divorce
  • Property division
  • Alimony
  • Child support

If the parties involved are unable to decide on the above matters, it is a considered contested divorce. The grounds for the divorce can influence how contentious the divorce will become. In some cases, one spouse might not want to dissolve the marriage at all. In others, neither spouse may agree on the terms.

Tennessee has a no-fault-ground divorce law, which means the couple can dissolve their marriage due to irreconcilable differences or incompatibility. Therefore, even if one party desires to stay married, the other can still be granted a divorce if it is their wish.

What Is An Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce means that both parties can come to an agreement on fundamental issues such as grounds for divorce, child support, asset, and debt division. Some divorces may start contested, but if the couple can work things out in mediation with their lawyers, the divorce can become uncontested.

Uncontested VS Contested Divorces

The most notable difference between an uncontested and contested divorce is the amount of time it takes to finalize the divorce. When there is no dispute between parties, the process can move quite swiftly.

In this case, since both parties agree to the terms, it doesn’t have to go to trial, which means your lawyer won’t have to obtain discovery, file subpoenas, or perform other lengthy legal procedures. Uncontested divorces can be finalized within two to three months, depending on how backed up the courts in your jurisdiction are.

On the other hand, a contested divorce is often rather complicated. These divorces are a long and drawn out process. Since the parties cannot agree on significant issues, the judge will make the necessary decisions for these couples.

In highly emotional and bitter divorce cases, the parties often disagree on alimony, spousal support, or what they consider to be an equitable division of marital assets.

Contested divorces can be expensive. Both parties will be subject to increased attorney fees and court costs. This process  also takes much longer to finalize because the parties will be assigned a trial date which could be several months or even a year in the future.

What’s The Best Option?

If a judge must make a decision for a couple, they do so in an “equitable” manner.  The judge can prioritize specific concerns over others, but this might not ALWAYS match the couple’s priorities. For instance, one party might be fighting for ownership of the house while the other might prefer to have the car.

The judge might order the sale of the home and award the vehicle to the other party. It’s important to note that the more control the couple has over the decision-making process with the proper guidance, they can agree that they can both live with it.

Most couples don’t relish the thought of having to fight it out in court.  While an uncontested divorce is the fastest and often most affordable way to legally separate, sometimes it’s impossible to agree with your soon-to-be ex-husband or wife.

Regardless of the type of divorce, having experience legal representation is essential to your future.

A Lawyer You Can Trust

Whether you’re filing for divorce or have been served divorce papers, you may feel like your world has come crashing down around you. It’s a very vulnerable and confusing place to be in, which is why you need the best legal counsel possible to navigate all the ins and outs of divorce law.

Attorney Hunter Fowler has provided legal services to many individuals in your precise situation and will work with you through every detail of your divorce proceedings to ensure the final outcome is what you want for yourself and your family. Contact Hunter Fowler today to get the legal counsel you deserve.