What's the Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce?


Should I File a Contested or Non-Contested Divorce?

There are multiple reasons why a couple may come to the difficult conclusion to divorce — and with these reasons comes multiple ways of filing this decision in court.

If you and your spouse can agree on the terms of your divorce, you may be able to avoid a lengthy and expensive battle. Keep reading to learn when you would need to file a contested or a non-contested divorce.

What is a Non-Contested Divorce?

Also known as an uncontested divorce, a couple who resolves their issues without the need for a court hearing will file a non-contested divorce.

In Hawaii, this means that the couple must decide on the following agreements:

  • Child custody and visitation schedules (if applicable)
  • Child support (if applicable)
  • Division of all debts and assets
  • Alimony amounts
  • Tax deductions and exemptions

How Do I File an Uncontested Divorce?

Once you and your spouse have agreed to the terms of your divorce, you’ll need to legalize this choice in writing — whether on your own or with the help of a mediator, such as Smith & Sturdivant, LLLC’s own Justin Sturdivant.

Once you file for divorce, your decision will be entered immediately without a waiting period. You will receive an Uncontested Divorce by Affidavit date, where the judge will review your documents (outside of court), and will sign the divorce decree as long as there are no questions or concerns. This process takes about 4 to 6 weeks, and afterward, your divorce will be finalized — saving you time, energy, and money without the need of going through a lengthy legal battle.

What is a Contested Divorce?

Choosing to divorce is an emotional and stressful process, which means that it may not be possible for you and your spouse to come to an agreement on your own. This may mean that you don’t agree on the need for divorce, or on the terms of the divorce such as child custody and alimony. In this case, your divorce will be filed as a contested divorce — and you’ll need lawyers to help present options for the decisions above.

How Do I File a Contested Divorce?

In Hawaii, the Hawaii Family Court handles all divorce proceedings — and only Hawaii residents that have lived in the state for at least 6 months can file for divorce.

During your court hearing, a judge will review your documents and make a final decision on how your assets will be split, and the custody and support guidelines if the couple has children.

Seasoned Divorce Lawyers in Honolulu

If you’re ready to file for divorce, our team at Smith & Sturdivant, LLLC can guide you and your family through the process. We’ve handled various divorce cases including contested and uncontested divorce for over 12 years, and our Honolulu divorce lawyers have the skills necessary to assist you.

To book a consultation, visit us online or call our office at: (808) 201-3898

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