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Contested and uncontested divorce- what’s the difference? 

Divorces can get messy, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Many divorce proceedings take place amicably, and without much disagreement. This is known as an uncontested divorce.  
 
You might be wondering, ‘What's the difference between uncontested and contested divorce?’, MG Legal's specialist family solicitors and divorce lawyers give a full definition of contested and uncontested divorces below. 
 

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Here at MG Legal, we know that the advice given could affect the rest of your life: so we sit, listen, and advise as to the options, before doing more than any other legal team to achieve the best outcome in your case.  
 
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What is a contested divorce? 

A contested divorce is one in which the ‘respondent’ party in the divorcing couple, who receives a copy of the divorce petition from the court, decides to contest the divorce. 
 
Once a party has made the decision to answer ‘yes’ on the acknowledgement of service, and contest the divorce proceedings, the process becomes much more complicated, lengthier, and expensive. 
 
It means that the couple will have to attend court proceedings for the matter, usually two different court hearings, and also leads to additional legal fees. 

What is an uncontested divorce? 

An uncontested divorce is where both parties agree to the divorce, taking away the need for any court hearings. The divorce will be processed by the courts on paper, and this will normally take four to six months to make it through the courts, depending on how busy the family court is, at the time. 
 
Our family solicitors offer this service at a clear, fixed-fee rate, outlined here. 

What happens in a contested divorce? 

Contested divorces are quite rare, and they rarely result in the divorce proceedings not taking place. If this is the case, and the contesting of the divorce does not work, then the respondent who has decided to contest the divorce will normally have to pay the legal fees of the other party involved, known as the petitioner. 

Can I use mediation in a contested divorce? 

One solution to the lengthy and expensive process of a contested divorce is to attempt to arrange mediation to come to an agreement on the divorce and separation. 
 
For a full overview of the mediation process, see here. 

How can MG Legal help with my contested divorce? 

If you find yourself in a contested divorce, it is important to ensure that you have a specialist and experienced family solicitor on your side to guide you through the complicated process. 
 
MG Legal’s expert solicitors can assist with communication with the other party involved, and help to advise as to the best next steps to take. See a full overview of our clear family law fees, here. 
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