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What is the Difference between a Contested vs. an Uncontested Divorce?

The outcome of your divorce case may be decided as follows:

  • You, your spouse and the lawyers negotiate and agree to the outcome;
  • the judge decides the outcome; or
  • a jury decides the outcome.

If you would like to keep the divorce process as amicable and inexpensive as possible, learn to communicate with each other and make agreements and concessions that you can both live with. I always tell my clients that you are not going to get everything you want in any case, but the good news is…neither is your spouse.

If you negotiate the outcome, you may always be a little bit unhappy about the result. So will your spouse. When everybody is a little bit unhappy, that usually means that the settlement was a good one. Divorces in which settlements are negotiated can range in cost from $1,500 to $5,000 or more. It depends on whether you have property and/ or children, and how contentious and contested the issues become along the way.

On the other hand, if you decide to fight and leave it up to the judge or jury to decide, plan on spending at least $5,000 for your divorce and possibly much more. Depending upon the issues contested and the personalities involved, a divorce that goes to trial can result in attorney’s fees and costs that range anywhere between $5,000 to $50,000. Also, if you leave it up to the courts to decide, you can definitely expect delays. Your case will proceed according to the court’s schedule – NOT according to your schedule.

The important thing to remember is that the more amicable Mom and Dad are while going through the divorce process, the healthier the children will be. Just because you are divorcing each other, doesn’t mean you have to make the process a nightmare for your children.

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