Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce: Which Option is Best for You?

Going through a divorce is never easy. But the process can be smoother and less stressful if you and your spouse are able to reach agreements on important issues like property division, spousal support, and child custody. 

When spouses disagree on these major divorce terms, it leads to a contested divorce. But when you’re able to compromise and settle all disputes upfront, you can pursue an uncontested divorce.

So, how do you know which option is right for your situation? Here’s an in-depth look at contested vs uncontested divorce in Tennessee, including the key differences, processes, and factors to weigh as you make this major decision.

What’s the Difference Between Uncontested and Contested Divorces?

In Tennessee, a divorce is considered uncontested when you and your spouse mutually agree on all aspects of your dissolution of marriage. This includes reaching alignments on potentially thorny issues like spousal support, child custody arrangements, and division of assets and debts accrued during the marriage. 

Uncontested divorces progress more swiftly as there is less litigation involved, and many details can be handled directly between yourselves. It often saves both spouses money and emotional grief in the long run.

Uncontested: An Amicable Shift Into Your Post-Marriage Life

Below are a few core benefits we’ve observed for men and women who seek cooperative terms of separation:

  • Child-Focused – Making joint custody decisions is focused on your children’s best interests rather than what a judge imposes. Kids benefit enormously when parents align peacefully on their new living situation.
  • Financial Sense – With flexibility in divvying up property and savings, uncontested divorcees often achieve an equitable split and avoid draining legal fees. Spousal support can provide stability when needed too.
  • Less Brutal – Reaching alignment without the scrutiny of court intervention allows both spouses to retain privacy and dignity through an undoubtedly vulnerable passage.

Contested: Arduous Yet Sometimes Necessary

However, despite best efforts, not all couples find themselves able to reach mutual terms for ending their legal bond. Contested divorces occur when irreconcilable differences arise in hopes, priorities, and visions for what’s equitable and workable in the long term. 

In Tennessee, valid grounds for seeking intervention through litigation include inappropriate marital conduct, irreconcilable differences, and more.

Below are insights into pursuing the contested path:

  • Kids at Center of Court – Custody battles with case-building, witnesses, and investigations into “unfit” parents can leave emotional scars on children for years. Even if arrangements start amicably through mediation, contested disputes can still erupt.
  • Losing Predictability – As a third party, a judge may rule very differently than expected on central concerns like who remains in the house, its sale, asset split, and alimony terms. Their aim is to enforce the law.
  • Costs Add Up – If unable to compromise out of court, the costs stack rapidly from attorney and filing fees, expert testimonies, professional property appraisals, and more. Contested divorces often demand second mortgages to finance litigation.

When cooperative divorce proves impossible due to infidelity, deception, or threats to personal safety, contested litigation becomes necessary to protect yourself, your children, and your financial stability after marriage. Our attorneys excel at vigorously representing clients’ best interests when stakes intensify around Tennessee divorces.

Assess Your Situation and Know Your Options

While a cooperative split is usually vastly preferable, every marriage unraveling has its own unique history, considerations, and power dynamics at play.

There are alternatives beyond total compromise or courtroom stand-offs as well. Mediation is one avenue that can bridge polarized mindsets through facilitated negotiation of lingering snags stalling a complete divorce. Easing communication is essential if children are involved especially. Litigation can always commence later as a last resort if no middle ground ultimately emerges.

Above all, remember that thousands get through divorce in Tennessee each year and build happy new chapters ahead. Prioritize self-care and lean on support systems to guide you through this immense transition. Our team stands ready to discuss your situation and weigh the pros and cons of all options at any time.

Reach Out to a Tennessee Family Law Attorney Today

If you are considering divorce in Tennessee, speaking with a knowledgeable family law attorney is crucial, whether you anticipate your divorce being contested or uncontested. 

An attorney can advise you on the laws in Tennessee regarding asset division, alimony, child custody and support, and more based on the unique details of your situation. They can also let you know if mediation could be an option to resolve disputes out of court.

Don’t go through this process alone. Schedule a consultation with a qualified Tennessee divorce attorney at The Law Office of Sam Byrd in your area to discuss your options.