A divorce can be an extremely stressful experience. The key to achieving the best outcome lies in understanding the types of divorce and knowing which option will work in your case.

In Canada, there are two main types of divorce — contested divorce and uncontested divorce.

What is a contested divorce?

A contested divorce occurs when both parties cannot agree on some or all details of the divorce. It is then left to the courts to settle any disagreement. These disagreements normally involve details on spousal and child support, custody arrangements, and division of assets. In a contested divorce, each spouse outlines their position on the issues, and through a series of hearings, the courts determine how each issue will be resolved. A contested divorce can be settled through various methods such as court-ordered mediation, arbitration, via a separation agreement or via the formal divorce process.

Benefits of a contested divorce

  • The foremost benefit of a contested divorce is that it allows you to evaluate the important details of your divorce instead of blindly signing an agreement.
  • A contested divorce allows all parties to voice opinions freely and without fear.

Drawbacks of a contested divorce

  • With a contested divorce, the final decision on the outcome of your divorce lies with the judge who makes a decision based on the information provided.
  • A contested divorce usually takes more time and money than an uncontested divorce.
  • Court battles are often emotionally exhausting, and the uncertainty of the outcome may lead to anxiety.

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce is one in which the divorcing couple has resolved their issues and have agreed to end the marriage without submitting any disputes to the courts. In an uncontested divorce, one party would file a Notice of Family Claim and serve it on their spouse who would then not be required to file anything in response. By not responding, the court presumes that the responding spouse is not contesting the applicant’s claims and is there in agreement.

For a divorce to be classified as uncontested, both parties must agree on all matters. If there are any issues on which you and your spouse cannot agree, the courts will not grant an uncontested divorce because the divorce filing will be contested by the other party.

Benefits of an uncontested divorce

  • Uncontested divorces are usually faster, which results in lower costs and reduced stress as the process does not require the parties to appear in court.
  • Uncontested divorces are non-contentious, and there is less chance of the decision being challenged later.
  • An uncontested divorce is more confidential than a contested divorce as fewer details of your marriage are published in court records.
  • Uncontested divorce often allows the parties to be amicable in their lives going forward, which is especially important when children are involved.

Drawbacks of an uncontested divorce

  • If the relationship was abusive or there was any other form of power disparity, an uncontested divorce will likely give one spouse an unfair advantage over the other.
  • Many couples opt for an uncontested divorce only as a way of avoiding disagreements. However, in such a situation, important matters may be overlooked.
  • If you or your spouse have a limited understanding of the law or believe you cannot complete the divorce paperwork on your own, an uncontested divorce might not be a suitable choice.

When to hire a divorce lawyer

If you and your spouse cannot agree on the issues that arise at the end of your marriage and your divorce is contested, you must consult a divorce lawyer who will fight to protect your rights.

Even if you and your spouse agree on all matters, it might still be wise to have a divorce lawyer draft or review your divorce agreement to ensure it is in your best interest.

Are you searching for a Surrey divorce lawyer?

If you are searching for a divorce lawyer in Surrey, contact us at Nirwan Law Corporation. Our capable and experienced Surrey divorce lawyer will evaluate your case and work tirelessly to ensure you receive the best outcome.

Call or visit our website to schedule a free consultation today.