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Contested vs. Uncontested Family Law Cases

Typically, in a family law case, the case proceeds in one of two ways: contested or uncontested. Uncontested means that the parties agree on a course of action and are simply asking the court to make their agreement official. In contested cases, the parties do not agree and ask the court to render a decision on their family law matter. Whether your case is contested or uncontested, you can benefit from the staunch legal advocacy of an experienced Murfreesboro family law attorney from Dotson & Taylor, Attorneys at Law.

Differences in contested vs. uncontested cases

In uncontested cases, one spouse typically prepares a petition that asks for a certain type of relief like custody or divorce. He or she may include a consent form from the other spouse, along with other required documents. Alternatively, the spouse’s attorney may draw up a dissolution agreement or parenting plan that both parties agree to and sign. The lawyer files this document and any other necessary documents with the court. The judge reviews the agreement to ensure it complies with relevant laws and makes it an order of the court that can be enforced against the parties.

In contested cases, one of the spouses petitions the court for the relief requested. The other spouse files an answer to the petition, stating why he or she does not agree with the petition. He or she may also counterclaim for relief, such as asking for a divorce on his or her own grounds or asking for custody of the children. The spouses may not agree on the terms and may ask the court to make a final decision.

What makes a case contested?

If the parties do not agree on the terms of the legal dispute, the case is contested. In a divorce case, the spouses may not agree on one or more of the following:

  • Grounds for divorce – One spouse may allege specific grounds for divorce, such as adultery or conviction of a felony. The other spouse may not agree that these grounds are present.

  • Child support or spousal support – The spouses may not agree on the amount of child support to be paid because they do not believe the other spouse is properly reporting income or believe that there is justification to deviate from the child support guidelines. A spouse may request spousal support and the other spouse may contest this request.

  • Child custody – The parties may not agree on custody or parenting time.

  • Property division – The spouses might not agree on how to divide their property. They may request the court to identify their property, classify it as marital or separate property, determine its value and divide it as the court deems fit.

Contact an experienced Murfreesboro family lawyer for guidance

Whether you are facing a contested or uncontested family law case, it is important that you have the assistance of skilled legal counsel by your side. The experienced family lawyers at Dotson & Taylor, Attorneys at Law, are familiar with all aspects of family law and explain your rights and best options to you at each stage in the process. We help you negotiate a fair agreement or advocate your position in court. Contact us online or call 615-890-1982 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.