It is important to understand the difference between an Uncontested Divorce and a Contested Divorce in DC.
An Uncontested Divorce is one in which all issues arising out of your marriage have been settled and there are no outstanding areas of disagreement between you and your spouse.
A Contested Divorce is one in which you are unable to reach an agreement as to all issues either on your own or with the assistance of a family law or divorce lawyer.
Uncontested Divorce In DC
An Uncontested Divorce in the District of Columbia moves through the court system in a much quicker fashion than a Contested Divorce. It is also much less costly for both you and your spouse. To file for an Uncontested Divorce in DC, all issues between you and your spouse must be resolved, which covers issues related to any property you have including:
- Homes, condos, rental property
- Retirement accounts
- Bank accounts, stocks, and other investments
- Any other property you have accumulated
In addition, issues related to your children must be resolved. These include:
- Child support and payment of other expenses such as extracurricular activities
- Health insurance coverage
- Parenting plan and schedule
Filing For An Uncontested Divorce
To file for an Uncontested Divorce in DC, you will need a Marital Settlement Agreement also known as a Separation Agreement or a Separation and Property Settlement Agreement. This is a contract that you and your spouse sign and notarize that includes all the agreements you have made.
You do not have to wait six months or a year to work out an Agreement. You can begin the process of negotiating a Settlement Agreement immediately after you separate either under the same roof or by living in separate residences.
A divorce attorney can advise you as to the issues that need to be included in a Marital Settlement Agreement and can help you with strategies for settling the issues.
- If you are not comfortable speaking with your spouse about the issues, a divorce lawyer can assist by negotiating a settlement with your spouse’s attorney.
- If you choose to have a mediator work with you and your spouse, a divorce attorney can advise you through that process so you can protect your rights.
Contested Divorce In DC
A Contested Divorce in the District of Columbia moves through the court in a much slower manner than an Uncontested Divorce and is usually more expensive. It is one in which you are unable to reach an agreement as to all issues either on your own or with the assistance of a family law or divorce lawyer.
Since the court will usually order that you attend mediation before setting a date for a trial to reach a resolution, it is best to attempt to settle the areas of disagreement before you file a court case. This will save money and time, be less emotionally draining and give you more control of the process.
Speak with a DC Divorce lawyer to help you understand the options available to you.