Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce in CA


California is considered a “no-fault divorce” state, which means the court does not require either spouse to file for divorce based on a specific fault or ground. Rather, the divorce must be based on irreconcilable differences. 

There are two main types of divorce: contested and uncontested divorce. If a couple agrees on all divorce-related issues (e.g., alimony, property division, child custody, child support, etc.), then this is considered an uncontested divorce. If a couple disagrees on at least one significant matter, it is a contested divorce. 

The following are several differences between contested and uncontested divorce: 

  • Timeline – Since a couple going through a contested divorce does not initially agree on all divorce-related issues, the legal process is more time-consuming compared to an uncontested divorce. In a contested divorce, a couple has a chance to resolve their differences through mediation, which consists of different sessions led by a mediator in order to help the couple reach a mutual divorce agreement. However, if mediation fails, then the divorce will undergo court litigation and have a judge decide on all matters. Since an uncontested divorce does not require a trial and other legal procedures, the process is much quicker. 

  • Cost – Because an uncontested divorce takes less time to finalize compared to a contested divorce, the former is less expensive. While both types of divorce may require each spouse to hire their own attorney, the more time lawyers need to spend to find a resolution, the more the overall costs increase. You could potentially end up paying tens of thousands of dollars at the end of a contested divorce. 

  • Emotions – Contested divorces are often more emotionally charged than uncontested divorces because any disagreement can have a significant impact on sensitive issues, such as the custody of the children, the division of marital property such as the family home and, determining spousal support. It is not uncommon for court litigation to result in animosity and hostility between the two parties. In addition, a judge ultimately decides a winner and a loser, but sometimes both parties end up losing. On the other hand, an uncontested divorce leads to a more amicable and respectful resolution, especially since the hotly contested trial process is not involved. 

A Divorce Can Be Contested For 3 Specific Reasons: 

In California, there are a few specific reasons a divorce may be contested & there are as follows: 

  • A factual disagreement is present 
  • A legal disagreement is present 
  • One or both spouses will not settle the issues and terms of their divorce 

Many couples disagree on the terms of their divorce. Here are some examples of contestable terms in a divorce: 

  • Child Support 
  • Child Custody 
  • Alimony
  • Property Division 
  • Distribution of Assets 

Whether you are dealing with a contested or uncontested divorce, you need an experienced family law attorney to protect your rights and best interests throughout the entire legal process. At The Neshanian Law Firm, Inc, we have been providing compassionate and personalized divorce solutions since 2002. 

If you are interested in filing for divorce in Irvine or Orange County, call our firm at (949) 577-7935 or complete our online contact form today to schedule a confidential consultation. Our lawyers are fluent in English and Armenian. 

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