If you are considering the possibility of filing for divorce in Ohio, you might be wondering about the difference between an uncontested and a contested divorce. What is the difference between these two terms, and what type of divorce should you be seeking? While an uncontested and a contested divorce are distinct in terms of the process of the case, it is important to understand that Ohio law does not require you to choose between an uncontested or a contested divorce when you file. Rather, you will file for divorce, at which point having an uncontested or contested divorce will impact the length of the case, the potential complications, and the way in which property is distributed. Our experienced Ohio divorce lawyers will tell you more.
Understanding the Distinctions Between Uncontested and Contested Divorce
The distinction between an uncontested divorce and a contested divorce concerns the agreement in existence between the spouses.
With an uncontested divorce, the spouses have reached an agreement about all aspects of the divorce, including the division of marital property according to the terms of equitable distribution, spousal support or maintenance, and child custody. The benefits of an uncontested divorce are that the process can go much more quickly in general since you will not need to wait for multiple court hearing dates and to prepare for those hearings where the judge will decide the issues in question, and the parties generally have more say in the outcome of the case. Under any circumstances, one of the parties must have lived in Ohio for at least six months prior to filing for divorce. Otherwise, an uncontested divorce can allow the parties to settle the case and to move on sooner.
In a contested divorce, the parties cannot agree on one or more issues in the divorce. The disagreement or dispute could be over a single item of property and whether it should be classified as marital or separate property, or the dispute could be farther reaching and could include wide-ranging disagreements concerning the distribution of marital property, child custody or parenting time, child support, and numerous other issues. To be clear, whether you disagree about a single small matter or many issues, you will have a contested divorce, and the judge will need to hear your case.
You Can Move From a Contested to an Uncontested Divorce
Once you file for divorce, whether you have an uncontested or a contested divorce is not immediately set. To be sure, you can go through processes such as negotiations with the other side through your attorneys, or you can consider family or divorce mediation.
In family or divorce mediation, a neutral third party known as a mediator will facilitate dialogue between you and your spouse to help you reach an agreement about any issues in dispute. If you are able to reach an agreement, the court will not need to hear the dispute. If you cannot reach an agreement, you still can bring the disputes before a judge who can make decisions about the division of marital property, parenting time rights, and numerous other matters.
Contact Our Ohio Divorce Lawyers
Do you have questions about uncontested or contested divorce? Our Ohio divorce attorneys can assist you. Contact Comunale Law Office for more information.