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Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce: Understanding the Differences

In law, there are generally two types of divorces: contested and uncontested. If you’re considering a divorce, you must understand the differences between the two, so you can move forward in the best way for you and your family.

Defining Uncontested & Contested Divorce

In every divorce, couples face many critical decisions involving:

  • Property settlement and division of assets and debts
  • Spousal support
  • Child custody and visitation
  • Child support

If both you and your spouse are able to agree on these decisions, your divorce can follow the uncontested divorce path. If you’re unable to agree, however, your divorce is considered contested and will follow the more traditional divorce path we’re prone to seeing displayed on TV. 

Understanding the Differences
817-755-1852 – There are two types of divorce including contested and uncontested. Although they both result in a dissolution of marriage, they have unique differences. To learn more, visit us today.

The Differences Between Contested & Uncontested Divorce

Typically, uncontested divorces resolve faster than contested divorces because they do not require a trial. Also, without a trial, uncontested divorces tend to be less expensive than contested divorces. 

Another difference lies in cases that do not settle. In uncontested divorces, both spouses are able to negotiate and reach a compromise that works best. In contrast, contested divorces sometimes result in a judge making the final decisions due to lack of agreement.

Contested divorces normally arise due to disagreements with property division, child custody and alimony. Fault may also be a driving force behind a contested divorce, resulting in spouses unwilling to negotiate. Although uncontested divorces deal with the same concerns, they’re often not as emotionally charged. Instead, both spouses may agree that it’s time to settle in the simplest way possible.

Even Contested Divorces Can Reach a Resolution Through Mediation

Some divorces start as contested due to the inability for both parties to reach an agreement alone. Professional mediation attorneys can help each spouse negotiate in a healthy way, often resulting in contested divorces becoming uncontested without court.

Mediation involves you, your spouse and a neutral third-party. During the process, you’ll work together to resolve any disputes, reach an agreement and move your divorce forward.

Are You Considering a Divorce? Call an Attorney.

If you’re considering a divorce in Texas, you don’t have to do it alone. Whether contested or uncontested, a lawyer can help you understand your options. Reach out to a professional divorce attorney who can help. Give our Fort Worth, TX, law office a call at 1-817-755-1852 today.

The Dangers of Living Without an Estate Plan

When you hear the word “estate,” you may think it doesn’t apply to you. After all, estates are often thought to only include large assets such as mansions and financial wealth. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

What Is an Estate? 

An estate is everything you own including your home, finances, vehicles and beyond. The amount of your property doesn’t matter, it all still falls under the general term “estate. An estate plan, at its most basic, is a set of instructions detailing what to do with all of your assets in the event of your death.

3 Risks of Living Without an Estate Plan

When completed in advance, an estate plan will protect your assets and your family from a variety of risks.

1. The Court Decides How to Divvy Up Your Assets

If you don’t put into writing your beneficiaries and who receives what assets, the court will decide who gets what in the event of your death. Unfortunately, the court doesn’t understand the unique dynamics of your family and may not follow through in a way that works best for them or in a way that best reflects what you wish to have happen. 

2. Your Children May Not Be Fully Protected

Having a will and an estate plan is the only way to fully protect your children. If they’re under 18 at the time of your death, your estate plan will outline how they should be cared for and what assets they’re entitled to. Without these in place, not only will the court decide what assets they receive and when, but they’ll also decide who will raise the children if both parents are no longer living.

3. Your Family Could Be Stuck With the Consequences

One of the components of an estate plan is loosening some of the tax burdens for your loved ones. Without an estate plan in place, those who receive assets could be stuck with a large bill due to federal, state and inheritance taxes. 

Beyond the financial burden, families are often left reeling from your death while attempting to split your assets. Fires flare and families begin to fight back and forth, sometimes resulting in drawn-out courtroom battles.

Estate Plan
817-755-1852 – An estate plan is the only way to protect your family and your assets in the event of your death. To learn more, visit us today.

Only an Estate Plan Can Prevent These Risks

An estate plan will protect your family, your children and your assets. It will ensure your wishes are carried out in the way you want them to be. If you don’t have a plan in place, or if yours is outdated in any way, we recommend calling an experienced estate planning attorney for help. Reach out to our Fort Worth, TX, firm today by calling 817-755-1852 to learn more.

Changing Lives, Changing Circumstances: Life After Divorce

Let’s assume a typical family unit: husband, wife, two kids, and a dog. The family lives in a nice, middle-class neighborhood in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas, with a home, two cars, and a few 401(k) retirement accounts from various career roles over the years. 

Unfortunately, the marriage is in trouble and is heading toward divorce

The divorce goes relatively smoothly. There are issues and disagreements to resolve, but the divorce is amicable. The parties agree to do what’s best for the children—to keep a sense of family continuity after the divorce, even though the family will no longer live under one roof. And they agree on issues like spousal support, which for two years the ex-husband pays on time and in full when due.       

But then a mishap: the ex-husband is hurt on the job and can no longer afford to pay the same amount of spousal support, at least temporarily. What happens next? 

Everything Changes but Change Itself 

To quote or paraphrase the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, everything changes but change itself. In other words, we can depend on at least that in life. The circumstances that held during the divorce, at the time the decree was entered and the divorce finalized, may not continue to hold in the months and years afterward. 

People get remarried. They have children. They go back to school. They find new jobs, out of town or even out of state. They get sick or injured, experience financial difficulty, and can no longer comply with the terms of the divorce decree, as described in our hypothetical scenario above.

What are your options when life happens?         

Post-Divorce Modifications

Court orders are enforceable against the respective parties. Judges expect the parties to abide by the terms set forth in those orders, from how much you pay in spousal support to the specific, day-to-day responsibilities related to parenting, as outlined in custody and visitation agreements. That said, the law recognizes Heraclitus’s remarks about change and allows for post-divorce modifications in some circumstances.

Here are a few additional (and common) examples:

  • As the children get older and more independent, their wants and needs will change.
  • When an ex-spouse remarries, his or her financial needs may change.
  • If an ex-spouse suffers a long-term disability and loss of income, his or her ability to pay spousal support will change.       

No Court Order Is Permanent  

Based in Arlington, the attorneys of Schneider Law Firm, P.C., help our clients adjust to life after divorce in changing circumstances. For a confidential consultation, call 1-817-799-7125 today.