People get divorced for all kinds of reasons. Try as hard as we may, sometimes the relationship we invest so much in just doesn’t work out and the marriage has to end.
How a marriage ends is another topic altogether. There are different kinds of divorce proceedings, the two most common ones being uncontested divorces and contested divorces.
What’s the difference between the two? Let’s take a look.
When both the spouses are in agreement on filing for divorce and go ahead with the procedure mutually, it’s considered to be an uncontested divorce. This means that neither party has an objection to the divorce itself and is willingly proceeding with it. In uncontested divorces, both spouses also agree on the terms of dissolution. They’re on the same page regarding the distribution of assets, sorting of debt, and custody of their children. Many couples also reach a settlement on their own without having to go to court for it.
While uncontested divorces are generally amicable, you should still have an attorney guiding you through the proceedings. Sure, the process itself is likely to be swift and easy, but you do want to ensure everything’s taken care of properly. Even if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse agree on the major points of discussion, having a professional lawyer with you is a safe and smart move.
In contrast, contested divorces are those in which one of the spouses does not agree to the divorce, or the couple isn’t able to agree on the key issues pertaining to the divorce, for example, a spouse may object to getting divorced altogether and refuse to comply. In other cases, both parties encounter major conflicts on issues such as the division of assets, spousal support, child custody and support, and debt allocation. This creates a lot of turbulence, often leading to resentment and hostility between the spouses.
Unsurprisingly, getting legal support isn’t just recommended for contested divorces, but downright necessary. Neither party can move forward without having legal representation in a contested divorce, and no, you shouldn’t consider being your own lawyer in a contested divorce. It’s of the utmost importance that both parties hire professional divorce attorneys for their case so as to avoid losing out on the settlement and being negatively affected by the legal proceedings.
When comedian and actor Robin Williams passed away, it seemed like his affairs were in order. He had prepared a will and specific trust agreements. He also had a prenuptial agreement in place. By most measures, it seemed as if he had done everything necessary to ensure that his estate would be distributed without conflicts or legal disputes. Despite his planning, though, his heirs still find themselves at odds with each other over Mr. Williams’s assets. The battles surrounding his estate provides valuable lessons for New York residents who are in the process of considering how their assets will be distributed when they die.
In many testamentary battles, the assets in dispute are big ticket items like homes, cars and money. That’s not the case with the current battle over the actor’s estate . Instead, his three children are fighting with Mr. Williams’s widow and third wife over personal items like memorabilia, bicycles, action figures, and more. Estate planning experts say that it’s not uncommon for families to fight over items that hold primarily sentimental value.
Individuals can avoid these disputes by making their will and trust documents as specific as possible. While it’s unlikely that people could specifically list every possession that they may own, they can address those items that may hold sentimental value. This is especially important in blended families where there may strained or complex relationships. Making the documents specific with regard to these items gives heirs little room to wage a battle.
It can also be helpful to have conversations with heirs before preparing documents, as a testator may be surprised to learn which items a child or spouse holds dear. An estate planning attorney can help facilitate these conversations by hosting a family meeting and then help to create documents that minimize the chance of subsequent family disputes.