There are several different ways you and your spouse can approach and obtain a divorce. Three of the most commonly used methods to get a divorce are collaborative, uncontested, and contested. How is collaborative divorce different from uncontested divorce? Let’s take an in-depth look.
No matter which path you and your spouse decide to take, divorce is often difficult and requires money (to pay filing fees, lawyers, court costs…) and time (to gather documents, arrive at agreement…). Often, the biggest factor in determining the amount of time your divorce will take, and how much money it will cost, is if you and your spouse are able to put aside feelings of anger and sadness and work together to divide assets and property with a focus on what is best for the family and the children you have together. If that can be accomplished, then both individuals have a much better chance of maintaining a civil relationship after the divorce becomes finalized.
In a collaborative divorce setting, you and your spouse hire lawyers who work cooperatively to try to settle your case. Each of you agrees to provide all the necessary information that’s needed for negotiations, and to discuss settlement options. In a collaborative divorce, if you and your spouse cannot reach a settlement, your respective attorneys must withdraw and you’ll need to hire new attorneys to represent each of you. In a collaborative divorce, divorce mediation is a very popular and complementary practice to help resolve issues. When using divorce mediation, you and your spouse meet with a trained divorce mediator to help resolve issues that are prevent you from reaching an agreement. The role of the divorce mediator isn’t to pass judgement or make a decision, but rather to help the two of you communicate with one another and reach a solution.
Benefits of Collaborative Divorce
In addition to providing a civil approach to problem solving, the collaborative divorce process may offer couples a quicker and less expensive method for dissolving their marriage or civil union. However, if the couple is unable to successfully complete the collaborative process, additional funds and time will be needed to pursue more traditional litigation.
An uncontested divorce is very similar to a collaborative divorce but it is one where you and your spouse work together – without lawyers or mediators – to agree on a reasonable and just settlement for your family. Once that is done, a lawyer will be needed to file the court papers for you, but there will be no formal trial, and you may not even be required to appear in court.
Benefits of Uncontested Divorce
One key benefit of seeking an uncontested divorce is the financial savings both in court costs and attorney fees. Pursuing an uncontested divorce also allows couples to expedite the divorce process and come to the legal end of their marriage or civil union at a faster pace so both individuals can move on in their lives. Much like the collaborative divorce process, an uncontested divorce may provide less stress and conflict between the parting spouses because the two individuals must communicate and work together to reach a settlement.
Uncontested divorces are typically best for couples who have already addressed the basic divorce concerns: child-custody, material assets and property division, and spousal support. The uncontested divorce process begins when one side formally files for divorce and then continues as the couple files the required paperwork for division of property and child custody, along with a formal legal statement articulating the grounds for divorce.
If complex custody decisions or financial distributions will need to be a part of your divorce agreement, you may be better served by spending the additional time and money to pursue alternative divorce processes such as the collaborative or contested divorce.
The contested divorce presents couples with the option to let a judge decide the settlement agreement for their divorce. While this process is often the most costly and time intensive, it can be an effective solution for those who have been unable to reach a mutually acceptable solution to child custody, spousal support, and asset distribution. In this process, both individuals will retain their own legal representation to exchange all required information, draft and approve settlement negotiations, and attend court hearings including the final trial. If you and your spouse have tried alternative divorce methods without reaching an agreement, or your relationship has deteriorated to a state where communication is nearly impossible, then you may wish to consider the contested divorce process as a way to terminate your marriage or civil union.
If you and your spouse will be filing for divorce in Northern Colorado or reside in the Larimer County or Fort Collins region, and want to explore a variety of divorce options, do not hesitate to contact Laura Monty Law. We provide collaborative divorce representation, divorce mediation services, legal advising for uncontested divorces and contested divorces, and a full array of divorce and family law services to meet your family’s needs. We strongly believe in taking a compassionate approach to family law, and recognize that every situation is unique.