Contested Vs. Uncontested Divorce: Deciding Which Path is Right for You

Contested vs Uncontested Divorce

Divorce is difficult and often heartbreaking. It can be even more challenging when both parties cannot agree on the terms of their separation. 

For those facing this dilemma, it’s important to understand the differences between contested and uncontested divorce.

Contested divorces occur when spouses cannot agree on certain aspects of the divorce, such as child custody arrangements or the division of assets. This type of divorce requires court involvement to make decisions satisfying both sides. 

On the other hand, uncontested divorces allow couples to work out their agreements without needing a judge to settle disputes.

No matter which option you choose, settling your divorce has long-term implications for all involved. In this article, we will further discuss the differences between contested and uncontested divorce so you can make an informed decision about how best to proceed with your situation.

Key Differences Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce

Contested and uncontested divorces both involve the dissolution of marriage, but there are key differences between the two:

  • Contested divorce requires a court hearing, while uncontested divorce does not.
  • Uncontested divorce involves parties agreeing on all terms, while in a contested divorce, both parties disagree on the terms.
  • Contested divorce can be more expensive and take longer to complete.
  • Uncontested divorce does not require legal representation, while a contested divorce does.
  • Contested divorce requires evidence and witnesses to support each party’s claims, while uncontested divorce does not.

Let’s look more in-depth at what it takes to get a contested or uncontested divorce.

Grounds for Uncontested Divorce in Tennessee

In Tennessee, the grounds for an uncontested divorce are that the marriage is irretrievably broken, meaning there is no hope for reconciliation, and the marriage cannot be saved. You could also file for an uncontested divorce based on long-term separation.

In this case, both spouses must agree to the divorce terms to file for an uncontested divorce. This includes agreeing on property division and debts, child custody, child support, and alimony. The parties must also agree to waive their rights to a trial, which means they will not be able to contest the divorce in court.

Grounds for Contested Divorce in Tennessee

In a contested divorce, the Tennessee court system has the power to decide the terms of the divorce. The court will consider all of the relevant evidence presented to make a decision that is in the best interests of all parties involved.

In Tennessee, there are numerous grounds for a divorce, including:

  • Impotence — the inability to have sex or procreate
  • Bigamy trying to marry more than one partner
  • Adultery — having sex with someone other than your spouse
  • Desertion — malicious and willful abandonment for a lengthy time and without communication
  • Infamous crimes — the conviction of a crime that could strip a person of certain rights (such as forgery and larceny) 
  • Felony crime — the charge, conviction, and sentencing of a felony (such as murder)
  • Attempted murder of spouse — the malicious and deliberate attempt to kill your spouse
  • Refusal to move — without reasonable cause, for more than two years 
  • Concealed pregnancy — marrying your husband without telling him you’re pregnant with another man’s child, for example
  • Cruel and inhumane treatment — all forms of physical and emotional abuse 
  • Alcohol or drug abuse — (if you were unaware of the issue before marriage)
  • Indignities — long-term behavior that is rude, hateful, abusive, or neglectful, which makes life intolerable
  • Abandonment — for more than two years and without support or care

The grounds for divorce may not always be clear, and proving them can be more difficult than it seems. You should consider consulting a divorce attorney for help building your case. 

Important Considerations for Both Divorce Types

Both contested and uncontested divorce have steps and considerations that must be taken into account when deciding about going through the divorce process.

For starters, you must understand the financial obligations of each spouse before either type of divorce is finalized. This includes any existing debts or assets and how they should be divided after the separation. If one spouse earns substantially more than the other, it may become necessary to pay spousal support (or alimony) after the dissolution. Additionally, couples with children must consider child support during the split.

It’s vital to weigh all these details carefully when determining which route best suits your situation. Ultimately, consulting an family law attorney can help ensure that whatever option you decide works out in everyone’s favor.

Get Help Making the Best Decisions for Your Family. Contact Our Divorce Attorneys Now.

Contested and uncontested divorces involve complex legal processes. When pursuing either option, it is important to consider your unique circumstances to make the best possible choice for you and your family. 

A contested divorce may be beneficial if specific issues must be addressed or resolved before the parties can agree. An uncontested divorce is often faster and less expensive as it does not require a trial. 

Finally, regardless of which type of divorce is chosen, each spouse should seek legal counsel from an experienced attorney who understands the laws associated with their particular case. With appropriate guidance, spouses can navigate their divorces more easily and efficiently.

Talk to an attorney about your divorce today—contact the Law Office of Sam Byrd now.

Author Bio

Sam Byrd is the owner and managing attorney at The Law Office of Sam Byrd. With hands-on experience in divorce, family law, criminal law, and DUI/DWI cases, Sam has been serving clients in Tennessee since 2012. He graduated with a J.D. from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 2012 and holds a B.S. in Legal Studies from the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga, where he graduated summa cum laude in 2009.

He began his legal career as a paralegal, working under his father’s guidance. Prior to that, Sam served in the United States Marine Corps as a member of the 2/7 Weapons Company stationed at 29 Palms, California.

Sam has received several accolades for his work, including being recognized as a Rising Star in Divorce & Family Law by Tennessee SuperLawyers in 2020, 2019, and 2018. He is also a member of The National Trial Lawyers’ Top 40 under 40, an exclusive professional organization for top trial lawyers under the age of 40. Sam’s commitment to continuous learning and improvement is demonstrated by his certifications in Trial Skills from the National College of DUI Defense in 2019 and 2018.

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