Divorces in Palm Beach County are typically categorized as either contested or uncontested. While contested divorces involve the litigation of certain key issues in front of a judge, the divorcing spouses in uncontested cases will come to an agreement about these issues before their final hearing.
These paths to marriage dissolution can be challenging, but qualified legal advice could streamline both processes. A skilled attorney in West Palm Beach could take on your case whether you are pursuing a contested or uncontested divorce and help you reach an agreement regarding your final contract with minimal conflict.
A contested divorce begins when one of the parties files a counter-petition against the original petition for marriage dissolution. Usually in these situations, the party who was served with the divorce petition has a fundamental disagreement and wishes to litigate it in a public courthouse. If the two divorcing spouses cannot come to an agreement about the terms of their divorce, they will need a judge to issue a ruling dictating their rights and responsibilities following the dissolution of their marriage.
When a divorcing couple decides to pursue a contested divorce, they are surrendering their ability to control part of their future to a third party, which is why this option is less advisable than attempting to resolve the case themselves. However, some issues are serious and divisive enough to warrant litigation, and a Palm Beach County attorney could have the necessary experience to effectively handle a contested case.
A divorce is uncontested when both parties have signed off on a marital settlement agreement that outlines solutions to all of the issues in their case. These issues include timesharing (custody/visitation), parental responsibilities (parental decision making), relocation/division of their marital assets and debts, alimony, child support, attorney’s fees, restoration of maiden name, and other matters.
The main difference between contested and uncontested divorce is the parties have resolved all those matters in writing. Instead of litigation, the parties will only have to go through a brief hearing in front of the judge, which is called an uncontested divorce hearing. The judge will approve their marital settlement agreement and the spouses will officially be divorced.
Role of Mediation
Mediation plays an important role in both contested and uncontested divorces. Many divorcing couples who begin the divorce process with a contested case will end up settling after completing mediation. Nationwide, 90 to 95 percent of all divorce cases settle. An experienced lawyer who is familiar with how mediation operates in Palm Beach County could help the parties in a divorce come to an agreement about a previously contentious issue or issues and save them the emotional stress and financial costs of litigating that issue or issues in court.
A West Palm Beach Attorney Could Help You Pursue a Contested or Uncontested Divorce
The objective of any divorce, whether it is contested or uncontested, is to create a comprehensive agreement addressing the most important marital issues. This agreement can arise from mediation or litigation, but the advice of an attorney during the process of reaching a compromise could be crucial regardless of the particular method. If you are entering either a contested or uncontested divorce in West Palm Beach, call today to schedule a consultation.