Contested Divorces versus Uncontested Divorces: What’s the Difference?

Contested Divorces versus Uncontested Divorces

There is no denying the fact that divorce can be one of the most stressful and costly experiences a person can undergo in their lifetime. The emotional toll of the process is next to none, and when children, shared assets, finances, property, and other intricacies are in the mix, it can be a cause immense concern. Essentially, there are two main types of divorce: contested processes and uncontested ones. Here, we delve into the difference between the two to offer a thorough understanding of the types of divorce available in South Africa.

The Uncontested Divorce:

This process is the quickest and most straightforward type of divorce for both parties. In an uncontested situation, both parties agree to the terms of the divorce and are on the same page regarding child custody and maintenance, shared assets, and any other issues that arise. The two parties can hire a neutral attorney who will draft the agreement, and both parties will sign the document upon completion. These processes can be finalised in as little as five weeks and result in the least stress and economic fallout for everyone involved. Nonetheless, if emotions are running high and there is serious disagreement on childcare and the division of assets, it is unlikely that this process will work smoothly, and, at this point, you will need to seek proper legal counsel.

The Contested Divorce:

This process is the most stressful and, at absolute worst, could drag on for many years, resulting in substantial financial consequences and emotional stress. This instance occurs when the parties cannot agree to any of the divorce stipulations, and disagreements might ensue around childcare and custody, maintenance, shared assets, and property. Both parties will usually appear in court many times throughout such a process, and the court will ultimately determine the terms. Unfortunately, such a process can result in substantial legal fees and much time invested to no end.

The Mediated Process:

There is also a middle-ground process when parties cannot agree on all the terms but have some commonalities. A professional mediator will work with both parties to find a mutual agreement during a mediation process. This process focuses on long-term goals and creates an action plan for a more peaceful and amicable future.

Chat with the Legal Experts at Riëtte Oosthuizen Attorneys

If you are experiencing a marriage breakdown and cannot agree on the exact terms, it is worth chatting with one of our skilled legal experts. We have over 20 years of experience in the legal world. We are well-versed in family law and associated complex issues such as maintenance, child abduction, primary custody, and the division of assets. We understand the emotional toll that the dissolution of marriage can cause and offer confidential, expert legal advice and support. For more information on our various legal services, give us a call on 012 460 6359 or send us a message here, and we will happily answer any queries or concerns.