family law

What is the Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce?

The national rate for divorce in Canada is 38%. The divorce rate for British Columbia sits just a little higher at 39.8%. 

 

Whatever your reason for divorce, we understand that this is an emotionally taxing time for both parties involved. It is important that couples understand the two main kinds of divorce—contested and uncontested divorce—and how they differ before making their decision. This will help reduce stress later in the process.

Read on to learn about the types of divorces in British Columbia from a family lawyer. 

 

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

This is also known as a joint or no-fault divorce, where there is mutual consent for the process.  This can be done after living separate and apart for at least 1 year. 

Important issues such as parenting time for the children, child / spousal supports, division of property and debt, must be settled out of court through a separation agreement.  Both parties will need to compromises to obtain a fair split of parenting, support and assets.  When the Separation Agreement is completed, signed by both parties and notarized a divorce can be requested. 

 

The Legal Procedure

The parties will need to file a Notice of Joint Family Claim with supporting affidavits in the Supreme Court.  Affidavits will include the Separation Agreement, child support arrangements , a Desk Order Divorce and possibly others.  The specific forms required can be found on the Supreme Court Family Forms website:  https://www2.gov.bc.ca/.../court-forms/sup-family-forms

Once the Supreme Court receives the proper forms there is a waiting period for the Court to review and process the request.  The divorce judgment is declared effective 31 days after judgment is made.  While an uncontested divorce can be done with forms off the internet, it can get complicated and be confusing.  That would be the time to seek the advice of a lawyer.

 

What Is a Contested Divorce?

This type of divorce occurs if spouses disagree on issues within the divorce. The issues usually range from child and spousal support to division of property and debt, as well as parenting time and visitation rights.

Both parties set out their views on the disputed issues, which then must be settled either outside of court, through negotiation or formal divorce procedures.  This can involve high legal fees so be sure to talk to your lawyer on the best strategies for a fast resolution. 

If the couple can't come to an agreement on their own, the judge will present their final verdict, which may or may not align with that of the couples desired outcome.

 

The Legal Procedure

Contested divorce involves many steps including sending a response to the divorce petition, completing and analyzing detailed financial statements of assets, attending court hearings, settling negotiations between attorneys, and preparing and completing court trials. Dick Byl Law Corporation can give you more information on the complete process for contested law in British Columbia. 

 

What's the Difference?

When comparing contested and uncontested divorces, the latter is a simpler and faster process. There is also less stress and cost involved and a higher chance of amicable termination.

Contested divorces, while more common, are often more complicated as they usually involve many years of marriage and larger assets to deal with.

Hire an experienced family lawyer for contested and uncontested divorce by contacting Dick Byl Law Corporation.  We also offer free 30-minute initial consultations.