Ever wondered what the difference is between a contested and an uncontested divorce? That’s actually quite a good question, because the term “divorce” is more complicated than the simple parting of ways between husband and wife. It can be contested or uncontested, and in the province of Alberta, divorce proceedings would require that the filing be either one of the two. So what’s the difference between these two types?
Contested divorces occur when both husband and wife are unable to agree on the issues pertaining to the divorce filing. This would usually end up in the court of law, where a judge would step in to resolve these often divisive issues between husband and wife. However, there are techniques that can be used to bring both parties back to the same page. Mediation, for instance, would involve a neutral third party who would sit down with both husband and wife in an effort to help both of them come to terms with the issues. However, agreements finalized through mediation cannot be considered binding. Arbitration would be a similar tool used by couples involved in a contested divorce – this time, lawyers would be involved, and any agreement finalized would have legal merit. If all else fails, there is no recourse but to take the contested divorce to court.
Conversely, uncontested divorces would have both parties hiring a common Alberta divorce lawyer and agreeing on most, if not all issues presented. Of course, there will be some points where both husband and wife don’t agree with, and an uncontested divorce can quickly become contested if these little issues don’t get smoothened out in due time. This is the divorce most couples would rather file for – it isn’t half as messy or convoluted as a contested divorce would be. Granted, divorces will always be tough on the children, but this is what you would want to file for if you can “agree to disagree” and try to make things right by the kids. It gives you an opportunity to leverage, unlike contested divorces, where the judge has the final say. In a perfect (or near-perfect) world, all Alberta divorces would be uncontested.
Unfortunately the world isn’t perfect – far from it, actually. If you’re an Alberta resident filing for divorce, the important thing is to hire a good lawyer and try to make things as civil as possible – for your sake and the entire family’s sake as well.
For more information about Alberta divorce basics please visit Affordable Divorce.