Contested vs Uncontested Divorce In Arizona

Consider Working Out Your Differences for an uncontested divorce. Here's why.

Posted by Editor on August 2, 2022



When Should A Divorce Be Contested vs. Uncontested?

When people file for divorce in Arizona, not every case ends up in court. Some divorce petitions are uncontested, which allows the parties to divorce without having to go through a divorce trial. Uncontested divorces are also significantly faster and less expensive than contested divorces. In some cases, the parties can even complete their divorce without ever entering a courtroom.

An uncontested divorce, on the other hand, generally requires both parties to be fair, reasonable, and willing to compromise. As a result, in some cases, litigation is unavoidable, and the case must proceed as a contested divorce. If you are considering filing for divorce in Arizona, you should discuss your situation with an experienced family law attorney to determine the best approach and strategy for you.

Divorce in Arizona: Contested vs. Uncontested

What Does the Term "Uncontested Divorce" Mean?

When divorcing spouses agree on all terms of their divorce, it is called an uncontested divorce. If you and your spouse agree on everything, you can file the necessary documents with the court together. Your divorce case can then be resolved outside of court without the need for a divorce trial.

People in Arizona can also divorce without the assistance of a lawyer. This, however, is not always a good idea, particularly when the stakes are high (i.e. children are involved, you have substantial assets or debts).

What Is a Contested Divorce?

In a contested divorce, the spouses disagree on one or more of the issues involved in their marriage's dissolution. A contested divorce case will be litigated in court before a judge unless the spouses can reach an agreement.

Couples in some contested divorces can eventually reach an agreement through mediation or negotiation. If the disputed issues are not resolved, the case will proceed to trial on the remaining issues. After hearing testimony and evaluating evidence presented by both parties, the judge will rule on the outstanding issues.

Divorce: Contested vs. Uncontested

Finally, uncontested divorces are usually much faster and less expensive than contested divorces. However, in some cases, agreeing to settle may not be a good idea. If your marriage has a history of domestic violence, drug or alcohol addiction, or you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, litigation may be required. It all depends on the terms of settlement that are offered.

Even if you and the other party agree on an uncontested divorce, an attorney consultation is still recommended to ensure that your agreements are in your best interests.

Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, an experienced attorney can assist you in determining the scope of your claims and rights under Arizona law. Even if you and the other party agree on an uncontested divorce, an attorney consultation is still recommended to ensure that your agreements are in your best interests.

In contested divorces, an attorney will assist you in identifying the key issues and facts in order to maximize your chances of a successful outcome in settlement negotiations or at trial. We will use outside experts and forensic accountants to help prove your case if necessary and beneficial.

The Drawbacks of Contested Divorces

Every divorce, whether uncontested or contested, has its own set of circumstances. However, the following are some of the disadvantages of contesting a divorce:

The issues will be decided by a judge rather than you and your spouse.
You will almost certainly have to attend several court hearings.
A contested divorce will take significantly longer.
Prolonged litigation makes contested divorces more expensive in general.

The Benefits of Uncontested Divorces

Uncontested divorces have the following benefits:

  • At the end of your marriage, you and your estranged spouse have control over the final decisions.
  • You may not be required to appear in court.
  • Uncontested divorces are typically much faster.
  • Divorce settlement is likely to be less expensive than litigation.
  • If you do not have children and have a small estate, you may be able to handle an uncontested divorce without the assistance of an attorney.

What are Litigation Alternatives?

People going through divorce in Arizona have access to alternative dispute resolution methods. Collaborative divorce and divorce mediation are two examples.

A collaborative divorce is a private, out-of-court process that may allow you to divorce even if you and your spouse do not initially agree on everything.
This type of process involves attorneys for each spouse as well as other professionals who can assist in resolving the outstanding issues. If an agreement is reached, it will be written up and presented to the court.

Divorce mediation entails meeting with a mediator, who is a neutral third party. The mediator has been trained to facilitate agreements in contentious situations. In separate rooms, you and your spouse will meet with the mediator. The mediator will speak with each of you and relay your concerns to one another.

An agreement will be prepared if an agreement is reached during mediation. You and your spouse will both sign it and have it submitted to the court. Divorce mediation allows you and your spouse to decide the outcome of your divorce rather than leaving it up to a judge.

Contact An Experienced Divorce Lawyer

If you initially believe that you and your spouse are too far apart on one or more issues to reach an agreement, an experienced divorce attorney may still be able to negotiate a settlement agreement that works for you with your spouse (or their attorney).

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