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Can I file for a divorce even if he doesn’t consent?

October 2, 2017

There are two types of divorce: uncontested and contested. There are significant differences between a contested and an uncontested divorce.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce could also be called an amicable divorce. Uncontested means, first of all, that both parties agree to divorce.

It also means that both parties agree on everything: child custody, child support, spousal maintenance (AKA alimony), and division of all assets. There is nothing that is not agreed upon. The judge does not have to decide anything in an uncontested divorce. The judge simply grants the divorce, and the former spouses go their separate ways.

Uncontested divorces are also the quickest divorces, most of the time. Since everything is agreed upon, and there is nothing to argue over or mediate, there’s nothing to delay the proceedings.

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce is any divorce that isn’t an uncontested one. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you and your husband are actively fighting over anything; it can simply mean that there is at least one issue that you are not in agreement on.

If your husband hasn’t consented to a divorce, you can still file, but it would be a contested divorce. This means you will need to serve him, and he will need to respond to your petition for divorce.

It also means that he will, most likely, argue over things such as child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance. This does not mean that you will not be granted your divorce.

However, contested divorces generally take longer because of the issues that need to be worked out. Once you file and serve him, he has 20-30 days (depending on how he was served) to file his answer. Then the case will be put on the court’s calendar and there will be court conferences to try to find agreements on the issues. There may be mediation, and ultimately, the judge may enter a decision on matters that cannot be agreed on.

An uncontested divorce is easier and faster than a contested one, but either one can ultimately lead to the same result: your marriage will be dissolved. It’s important, however, to make sure that you meet all the legal requirements before your file, so that you don’t drag out the case any longer than it absolutely has to be. It’s also important to make sure that you don’t put yourself in a position where you come out with the short end of the stick, so to speak.

A lawyer is a worthwhile expense in any contested divorce.

A lawyer can help you ensure that your contested divorce isn’t harder than it needs to be. They’ll ensure that you meet all the legal requirements to file, that you properly serve your husband, and that you get the fairest outcome possible in a contested divorce. A lawyer will ensure the assets and debts are equitably distributed, custody and child support are fair, and the divorce is complete as quickly as possible. If your husband hasn’t consented to the divorce, it’s even more important that you hire a lawyer to help you through the process.

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