When a marriage is in trouble, you may feel as if your life is being turned upside down. On top of facing a possible divorce, you find yourself dealing with words that you have never used before; a whole new vocabulary that can be difficult to understand. So let me try to clarify a couple of basics for you.

uncontested divorce

Uncontested Divorce, Contested Divorce and Litigation; Jennifer Safian, Safian MediationAn uncontested divorcemeans that you and your spouse are in agreement about getting a divorce, and that you believe that you will be able to reach an understanding on all divorce related issues including property division, spousal/child support, and a parenting plan for your children if needed.

A mediator can help you and your spouse develop this agreement, navigate some of the small bumps that you could encounter on the way. A Settlement Agreement will be drafted reflecting all your joint decisions so that you can proceed to the next step and obtain a divorce.

The parties may choose to have separate lawyers review the agreement after which one lawyer will submit the legal document to the court on behalf of one party and by not appearing in court to “contest” the divorce, the other party acknowledges agreement. The lawyers will help you finish the process so that you can sign the papers. Once signed the divorce process will be completed and you will be divorced.

contested divorce

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A contested divorce means that you and your spouse are not in agreement on any of the divorce related issues and from the outset have chosen to go the adversarial route by each hiring your own attorney. Each attorney will fight to get the most for their client.

A protracted process of discovery will ensue, with each lawyer trying to expose faults and weaknesses of the other party in order to win. You may end up in an expensive litigation which could last for years. If the lawyers are unable to reach an agreement for you and your spouse, you will end up in court where the judge will be the one to make the final decisions for both of you and your children. He will issue orders that the parties will have to abide by.

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Jennifer Safian

jennifer safian. divorce and family mediator
divorce and family mediation
upper east side of manhattan (nyc)
new york, ny
(212) 472-8626
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