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What is a Contested Divorce? What is an Uncontested Divorce?

Michigan uncontested divorceUncontested Divorce? Contested Divorce? What's the Difference?!

Many people have a misunderstanding of what it means to have a contested or uncontested divorce. Many think that an uncontested divorce is always cheaper, quicker and more efficient than a contested divorce; that is not necessarily the case. In fact, the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce have nothing to do with cost, timeliness or efficiency, but rather the involvement of the Defendant.

                                                                     

How do I know if my Divorce is Contested in Michigan? 

After the Complaint and Summons are filed and served, the Defendant has 21 days (28 days if served by mail or out of state) to file an Answer to the Divorce. Once the Answer is filed, the case becomes a “Contested” divorce. The divorce is “contested” because the parties are both part of the process and will have to resolve the case together. The parties then go through the motions of attempting to settle the case. But the important thing to note here is that both parties are equally part of the process.

 How do I know if My Divorce is Uncontested?

If the Defendant does not file an Answer, a Default may be entered and the matter then becomes an “Uncontested” divorce. The Defendant still has the opportunity to set aside the default within a certain amount of time. If the Defendant does not set aside the default, the Plaintiff must attend at least one court hearing to place the “proofs” on the record to determine the truth of the statements made in the complaint. This divorce is “uncontested” because the Defendant is typically not part of the process. It is the Plaintiff who is essentially calling the shots. The Defendant in this case has waived his right to legally be a part of the suit and relies on the Plaintiff to make all the decisions surrounding child custody, child support, parenting time, spousal support, property settlement, etc.

Which Should I Aim for?

To determine which avenue is in your best interest, you will want to speak with an attorney about the facts of your case. There are some instances where pursing an “uncontested” divorce is better suited to your situation, and other instances where pursing a “contested” divorce is more appropriate.

Free Consultation with a Divorce Attorney (248) 825-8042

For more information about divorce and family law, or to retain Hermiz Law, PLC, please call us at 248-825-8042.

Posted on February 22, 2014 by Madana M. Hermiz, Esq. in Family Law