What is the Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce in Oklahoma?
There are two types of divorce in Oklahoma, uncontested divorce and contested divorce. These essentially depend on whether or not both spouses agree on all the issues surrounding the divorce, including the child support complexities, property division, and any other factor that could impact the divorce process and its outcome.
If you and your spouse cannot come to a full agreement on all the factors in the marriage (meaning you would be having a contested divorce), it is incredibly important that you have a capable and experienced lawyer at your side. Your spouse will most likely also have legal representation, and it is crucial to be properly represented during the mediation and settlement process. If not, you could end up with alimony or child custody decisions that are not in your favor.
We understand all types of divorces are extremely difficult, whether contested or uncontested. Here at Cannon & Associates, we have a wealth of experience ensuring divorcees receive fair terms in their divorce settlement.
Get the secure backing of an experienced Oklahoma divorce attorney today by calling 405-591-3935.
What Is An Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce is when both parties are able to come to an agreement about all of the issues that surround ending a marriage – such as how the property is divided and how child custody and child support arrangements are going to be handled in the future. This is known as a waiver divorce or a dissolution of marriage.
Essentially, uncontested divorce is what we typically see from a more amicable relationship. However, this does not mean that you have to be in agreement about everything. There are two common ways to handle uncontested divorce in Oklahoma, which we will cover below.
Uncontested Divorce When Both Parties Are In Total Agreement
If you and your spouse agree completely on what the outcome of your divorce process will be, then things should be relatively simple. There will be no need to go to trial.
Instead, you will need to sit down and create a marital settlement agreement, stating which items will become the separate property of each spouse, and how child support arrangements will be handled once both parties are separated. This will then be filed along with the other initial paperwork (which we will get to later) when filing for your divorce.
While you should count yourself lucky if you and your spouse agree, it always pays to be cautious. We would highly recommend getting a divorce attorney to look over your settlement agreement before you sign it. Experienced divorce attorneys will help you notice any potential serious mistakes before you commit yourself to them legally.
Uncontested Divorce With Mediation
It is common for spouses to be in agreement about many of the things that would result from their divorce, but still not be able to reach a satisfying conclusion between themselves.
In this situation, the divorcing parties do not necessarily need to drag themselves through the trial process in order to come to an agreement. Divorce mediation is still possible without the aim of going to court, and can often help to solve those delicate disagreements where too much personal feeling is getting in the way.
Divorce mediators are divorce attorneys who help both parties come to the best possible compromise between them. Having an Oklahoma divorce attorney for this purpose is a great idea if you want to get the best and most fair deal for yourself, avoid emotionally-charged conflict, and keep things civil and well-considered.
What Is A Contested Divorce?
Contested divorces are those where neither spouse can come to an agreement about the terms of the divorce.
Contested divorces are very common, and may be caused by disagreements over sensitive issues the care and visitation of children, alimony payments, division of contested assets, or just a divorce process that generally turned ugly and emotional.
A contested divorce is usually a litigated divorce, where the two parties take their case to court and let the judge decide the final outcome.
Does Every Contested Divorce Have To Go To Trial?
No, not every contested divorce has to end in a trial. However, in order to avoid the drama, time, and added expense of the trial process, both parties must reach a mutually agreed divorce settlement.
Contested divorce cases usually reach this settlement through a mediation process before the time of the trial. Each spouse and their attorney must come to an agreed-upon compromise about all of the major issues. This agreement must then be signed to ensure the divorce case does not need to go to trial.
What Are The Benefits Of A Uncontested Or Waiver Divorce?
Uncontested divorces, known technically as a waiver divorce, are the preferred option. Waiver divorces have many benefits, the largest of which are:
- They are fast. As soon as your divorce decree is agreed upon, you can be quickly legally separated. There is no need to suffer a lengthy waiting period of weeks or months, as with a contested divorce.
- They are less expensive. If you and your spouse are able to agree on all of the issues in your divorce decree, you will save a considerable amount of money on lawyer and court fees.
- They are more amicable. Emotional legal drama is not always in the best interests of parents with young children. By avoiding confrontation, dynamics can be kept civil to avoid impacting the mental or emotional health of any children involved.
When Is A Contested Divorce Case The Right Option?
While uncontested divorces are no doubt easier, we do not live in a perfect world and often a contested divorce process is the only option to secure a fair settlement for both parties.
You should strongly consider hiring an Oklahoma divorce attorney to guide you through your contested divorce if:
- You are unhappy with the way assets are being split, for example, if you want more money or both parties dispute what should be done with property.
- You are being threatened with unfair or unreasonable alimony or child support costs.
- You are being offered an unfair visitation or custody agreement concerning your children.
- You have a complex case, such as one where you both own a business together.
If you are facing a contested divorce and require mediation, having an experienced and capable attorney who you trust to have your best interest in mind can make a world of difference. To find out how we could help you, call today for a free consultation.
The Process For Filing An Oklahoma Uncontested Divorce
If you and your spouse are able to agree completely on all aspects of the divorce, filing your uncontested divorce should be simple.
Instead of serving your spouse divorce papers, a waiver divorce allows one spouse to waive their right to receive a divorce petition. The other spouse then files a dissolution of marriage petition, claiming a no-fault divorce based on incompatibility.
After this, both parties must create and sign a divorce settlement agreement that includes details of how assets will be divided, any spousal support, and a parenting plan.
This agreement must be accompanied by some divorce paperwork. As the divorce paperwork needed varies from county to county in Oklahoma, it is best to double-check this with your court clerk’s office. Or, better yet, hire an attorney and let them handle all the paperwork related to your divorce case.
You will also have to pay a filing fee for a dissolution of marriage. Again, the costs associated with this vary across different counties in Oklahoma. If you feel you cannot afford the fee, you may instead file an affidavit to request that the fee be waived.
The Process For Filing An Oklahoma Contested Divorce
If you are going through a contested divorce in Oklahoma, you must first serve a divorce petition to your spouse. This may be done by a professional process server or a county sheriff.
This petition should contain the reasons for the divorce, as well as the arrangements (in terms of care of the children, property division, child support, etc.) that you are proposing.
The other party must then respond within twenty days. If the other party does not agree with the terms you have proposed, they must file a counterclaim petition for divorce.
If, at this point, neither party can agree to the terms, the court will issue a summons and both parties will need to attend a hearing. At the hearing, both parties have the opportunity to lay out the disputed issues.
If no agreement can be made at the hearing, the divorce will proceed to trial. It may be possible to reach a settlement before the date of the trial, especially with the help of divorce mediators. However, if you cannot, then it will be the judge who determines the final outcome.
A Lawyer Can Help With Both Contested And Uncontested Divorces
It is hard to overstate the importance of securing experienced legal counsel whether you are going through a contested or uncontested divorce in Oklahoma.
When signing your divorce settlement agreement, a lot is at stake. If you do not have a lawyer by your side, you could end up with an unfair division of property or less visitation and access to your children than you deserve. On a more human level, legal representation can help you to solve lengthy and potentially bitter emotional disagreements in a civil and controlled environment – which is a particular advantage to parents of young children.
No matter what your circumstances, an Oklahoma divorce attorney from Cannon & Associates can help you. We offer all our potential clients a free consultation to get to grips with their case, where we will let you know what you should expect from the divorce process.
Do not settle for less than you deserve. Hire an Oklahoma divorce lawyer today by calling 405-591-3935.
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