Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce in NH
According to the New Hampshire Department of State, 1,420 divorces were completed in New Hampshire in 2013. When spouses divorce, the separation can be either contested or uncontested. In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree to divorce and do not require another party to help them decide on the terms of their separation. A contested divorce occurs when a both parties do not agree on aspects of the divorce. This most commonly includes the following:
- Division of assets
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
- Allocation of debts
Often, a divorce will begin uncontested but then become contested when parties find they are not in agreement on these issues. For this reason, there are many options available to help couples reach a resolution. Because it takes time to resolve conflict and go through litigation, uncontested divorces are resolved much quicker than contested ones. Couples should choose a divorce option that can help them agree to terms as quickly and as cost effectively as possible.
Options for New Hampshire Uncontested Divorce
In order for parties to finalize a divorce, they must agree on all of the above issues. In contested divorces, couples usually choose to have legal assistance to help them through the process. Truly uncontested divorces can occur easily and quickly by a “kitchen table” discussion. However, most couples will face some areas of contention and may want to have a representative present to look after their best interest and keep the conversation moving forward. Couples who are facing a contested divorce have many options, including the following:
Mediation – An impartial mediator assists a couple resolve disagreements that come up. The mediator does not offer legal advice but only helps parties reached compromises. New Hampshire requires couples to attend mediation before seeking litigation in many matters.
Litigation – When parties cannot come to an agreement over many or even a single issue may move to litigation. This process involves going in front of a judge and having the court decide the terms of the divorce. This process is very lengthy and can also be quite expensive.
Arbitration – Similar to litigation, couples present their issues to an arbitrator who issues their decisions. Arbitration is a faster and less expensive option than litigation.
Collaborative Divorce – This is a new approach to solving contested divorces that is growing in popularity. It involves both parties having an attorney as well but, instead of litigating, all parties work together to reach compromises. This is a great option for couples to use with an uncontested divorce to avoid litigation and get results everyone is happy with.
Call a New Hampshire Divorce Lawyer Now
If you are facing a divorce in New Hampshire, it is important to understand the difference between contested and uncontested divorce and your options for settling divorce disputes. Attorneys Katharine Phinney and Kenneth Burlage work to help their clients get results that are agreeable to all parties. Call Russman Law to set up an appointment to meet with either of them and discuss your options.