What Is Uncontested Divorce?

Florida has the unfortunate distinction of being among the top 10 states in the nation for divorce rates and Altamonte Springs is no exception to this trend. While the reason for these separations are as numerous as the individual families, legally, all divorces ultimately fall into one of two categories – uncontested or contested. As a divorce attorney serving Altamonte Springs and Central Florida, Charles Dehlinger has seen hundreds of cases representing both types. While neither type of divorce is easy or pleasant, uncontested divorces are generally smoother and more amiable than contested ones, emotionally, financially, and legally.

But often, our clients are confused about what constitutes an uncontested divorce. Entering a divorce is difficult enough. But realizing for the first time in the attorney’s office that your divorce is going to be twice as time-consuming, difficult, and expensive as you had planned can only exacerbate the turmoil. That’s why, before you consult an attorney, it’s helpful for both you and your spouse to understand exactly what defines an uncontested divorce and for the two of you to work toward that end, if possible.

What Uncontested Divorce is NOT

Many couples enter the divorce process either thinking their divorce is uncontested when it is not or believing such a divorce is not an option when it is. Dispelling the myths of uncontested divorce is the first step toward determining whether or not you will be capable of pursuing this type of dissolution and planning accordingly.

An uncontested divorce is not . . .

  • Mere mutual agreement to divorce (although this is an important component)
  • The absence of disagreement about the details of the divorce (this is often impossible)
  • A commitment to go through divorce without an attorney or legal counsel
  • A forfeiture of all legal protections as to the terms of the divorce.

Many uncontested divorces are quite the opposite of what is described above. Agreement to divorce without agreement on exactly how the divorce should take place (including the details of the divisions of property, debt, and child custody) does not qualify as an uncontested divorce. However, it is perfectly normal to have points of disagreement that need resolved. This is why an attorney and/or professional mediator is often an integral part of achieving such a resolution, by helping the parties negotiate these points and come to a legally-binding agreement outside of the court system.

That brings us to what an uncontested divorce IS. Specifically, an uncontested divorce is one that includes these elements:

  • An agreement to divorce
  • An agreement on how to divide all remaining marital property
  • An agreement on how to divide all marital debt
  • An agreement on all aspects of child and spousal support
  • An agreement to use an attorney and/or professional mediator to negotiate any areas of disagreement instead of going to court

While there are some scenarios – especially those involving abuse or complex assets – that cannot be resolved without litigation, marriages that can be dissolved in this manner are significantly more streamlined and less expensive.

Charles Dehlinger has handled hundreds of uncontested and contested divorces. If you’re uncertain whether you can arrive at an agreement with your spouse, call his office today for a consultation. Sometimes a little time spent with an impartial third party is all that is needed to hash out the remaining disagreements. If you’re already committed to an uncontested divorce and are contemplating filing the paperwork yourself, call us anyway – initial consultations are always free. Misfiled paperwork and agreements that are made without fully understanding the future ramifications are a frequent cause of drawn-out divorces, expensive re-filings, and later regrets. A compassionate and experienced Florida divorce attorney can often smooth your way into your new life.

During office hours, you can reach Attorney Dehlinger at (407) 682-4402. Can’t call us between 9 and 5? We understand! Attorney Dehlinger is available after hours on his cell at (407) 496-8687.

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