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Florida Family Law 101: The Difference Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce

Once everything is said and done in a divorce, two people who have been sharing everything through their marriage will be legally separated. This can often be a complex and difficult process. In the state of Florida, there are two options available: uncontested and contested divorce. Take some time to learn the basics about each of these options to see which one is right for your unique situation.

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

In an uncontested divorce, both parties will have worked out all of the details necessary for their divorce ahead of time. This can be done either by talking between themselves, using the services of a third party, or by working directly with their attorneys to negotiate. Some of the details that will need to be addressed outside of court include:

  • Division of Assets
  • Division of Debts
  • Parenting Plan (including parental responsibility and time sharing)
  • Child Support
  • Alimony (if Applicable)
  • Other Sources of Potential Conflict

If both parties can come to an agreement on these issues, the divorce can be considered uncontested. The attorneys representing each party will write up an agreement, and the courts will authorize it. There is no need to make arguments in court, which can save a lot of time and money. One more important thing to remember about uncontested divorces is that both parties must agree on the issues. If one party refuses to negotiate, the divorce will necessarily become contested unless the other party is willing to give up 100% of what they wanted.

What is a Contested Divorce?

When it is not possible to work out all of these issues, the divorce becomes contested. When this occurs, each party will need to present their position to a judge, who will then make a ruling. It is possible to have some issues worked out ahead of time, and only bring the remaining issues to court. If nothing can be agreed upon, the courts will handle the entire divorce, including division of assets, parenting plan, any type of support, and more.

Which One Better Fits Your Situation?

If you are able to have an uncontested divorce, that is almost always going to be much preferable. Even if you have to compromise on certain things, it will likely be better due to the fact that there will be far less conflict, it will be much less expensive (without court and attorney’s fees), and you will maintain a greater level of control throughout the process.

If your relationship with your soon-to-be ex is very contentious, however, it may be best to just go straight to litigating your divorce. While it will be more costly up front, it can at least guarantee that it will be over and you can move on.

Get the Representation You Need

Whether you choose an uncontested or a contested divorce, you need to have proper legal representation throughout the process. Here at the Vasquez de Lara Law Group, our only goal is to get you the peace of mind you seek. Contact us now to schedule a consultation and learn how we can help you through your divorce, no matter what you’re facing.

Author Bio

Vanessa Vasquez de Lara is the founder and owner of Vasquez de Lara Law Group, a Miami family law firm. With over 20 years of experience in family law, she has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including divorces, child support, child custody, alimony, and other family law cases.

Vanessa received her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 2002 and is a member of the Florida Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named to the 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars and the 2016-2023 Super Lawyers list.

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