Weighing your uncontested or litigated divorce options

Divorcing couples have several options to choose from. These include mediation and collaborative law, as well as litigation.

The thought of going through the divorce process can be overwhelming to many Texas residents. Should disputes be resolved by a judge, or is there a way to solve disagreements without having to go to court? What are the advantages and disadvantages to contested and uncontested divorce? Before filing for divorce, it can help for spouses to understand the different options available and carefully consider which choice might be best for each specific situation.

Uncontested divorce options have numerous benefits

It may be beneficial for many couples to attempt an uncontested method of ending a marriage. Uncontested, or amicable, divorce, involves both spouses negotiating with each other to resolve their disputes out of court. The advantages of an uncontested divorce, according to the American Bar Association, often include being cost-effective, as well as saving time. For example, mediation may take anywhere between one week to a month, whereas a litigated divorce might take weeks or months to complete. Mediation and collaborative law can also cost less, due to the reduced time involved. Also, uncontested divorce often reduces the amount of conflict everyone experiences.

Mediation involves a neutral third party discussing each issue with the couple and assisting them in reaching agreements they both can agree on. Collaborative law, according to U.S. News and World Report, involves each spouse's own attorney and can also include other professionals, such as financial advisors and child therapists. Collaborative law may be beneficial for those with complex property division or parenting disputes. In a collaborative divorce, each party agrees not to litigate. If an agreement cannot be reached and litigation seems to be the only option, both attorneys must resign from the case.

Litigation is sometimes the better option

Uncontested divorce is not always possible or advisable. In cases where litigation becomes necessary, each spouse's best interests may be considered more thoroughly by a judge. For example, it may be a better choice to go to court if any of the following situations were present during the marriage or divorce process:

  • Domestic violence
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Significant financial disparity between spouses
  • Inability to agree or calmly discuss matters

In any divorce case, it is often a wise course of action to speak with a family law attorney to discuss the options available. An experienced Temple attorney should take each couple's personal circumstances into consideration and decide on a plan that has the best chance of success.