What’s the Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce in Colorado?
No one expects to walk down the aisle and have their marriage end in divorce. Yet, that is the fate for nearly half of the spouses in the US. Divorces are often a painful reminder of what is over, and the process confronts couples with sensitive subjects. For these reasons, you often hear about contentious breakups taking place in the courtroom, but your divorce does not have to look like that. We’re going over the differences between a contested and uncontested divorce so that you can determine which type of case is the best for your separation.
At Knies, Helland & McPherson, we strive to make the divorce process less stressful for families, and we are here to walk you through each step from beginning to end. Contact us to get started on your case today.
Uncontested Divorce Meaning
A common misconception is that divorces involve nasty battles, but a vast majority of cases never see the inside of a courtroom. When the spouses can agree on their divorce terms, including property division and child custody issues, without a legal proceeding, it is known as an uncontested divorce. These cases offer a quicker, less expensive solution to end a marriage, which most people desire.
Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce in Colorado
In Colorado, to start the process of an uncontested divorce, you must submit an affidavit for decree without appearance of parties. To be eligible for this, you’ll have to meet the following requirements:
You or your spouse have lived in Colorado for more than 90 days
You and your spouse do not own marital property, or you’ve signed a separation agreement that spells out the terms for how you will split your property
You and your spouse agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken
You and your spouse do not have minor children and neither spouse is pregnant
You and your spouse do have minor children, and you have both signed a separation agreement taking into account child custody, visitation, and child support
The Pros and Cons of an Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce can dramatically reduce the time, costs, and conflict associated with the divorce process. If you believe this is the route for you, it’s vital to understand the potential disadvantages. By choosing an uncontested divorce, you are releasing your “day in court,” meaning you won’t be able to present any arguments to the judge, and you may need to concede on certain important matters. This is particularly crucial to keep in mind when domestic violence, emotional or financial abuse, or other issues are involved.
Additionally, it would still be wise to hire a family law firm to review your separation agreement and make sure that all your bases are covered. It should address property and debt division, custody issues, a visitation schedule, and spousal support. This can be difficult to do on your own, which is why we recommend consulting a legal expert.
Contested Divorce Meaning
A contested divorce is when spouses are unable to agree on the terms and conditions of their separation and must present their different positions to a judge. He or she can issue court-mandated orders for child and spousal support, allocation of parental responsibilities, and distribution of marital property and debts. For many couples, allowing a judge to make the final decision for their divorce can be a frightening thought. This is entirely understandable as your family's future is on the line, and the judge is a stranger to you.
At Knies, Helland & McPherson, our attorneys will help you settle your disputes outside of the courtroom through divorce mediation. However, we know that sometimes conflict is unavoidable, and our team is here to help. Having an experienced team who knows the local laws, court, and bench will be advantageous. We have years of success in the courtroom and will fight for your rights.
Knies, Helland & McPherson is here to partner with you for a successful future. Schedule a consultation with our Colorado Springs lawyers today by calling us at (719) 626-8530.