These days, there’s a lot of emphasis put on cooperation between divorcing spouses and couples often feel a strong push to simply come to some agreement about the division of property, issues of support and anything else that’s important and just get on with their lives with an uncontested divorce – but that’s not always the best thing to do.
Contesting your divorce doesn’t mean that you’re trying to remain married. Instead, it merely means that you want the court to step in and make some of these important decisions for you.
Why would anybody let the court take over and give up that much control? Here are some good reasons:
1. Your spouse is unwilling or unable to compromise.
Maybe you suspect that your spouse simply isn’t accepting the reality of the situation, so they’re constantly using delay tactics that keep moving negotiations backward. Maybe you have a suspicion (or know) that your spouse has a personality disorder that leans toward narcissism, so their expectations are simply unreasonable. Either way, you can’t get to an uncontested divorce if the other party is unwilling.
2. Your spouse purposefully intimidates you.
If your spouse has been physically or mentally abusive during your marriage (or even once you announced your intention to divorce), you may have difficulty negotiating from a position of strength. Abusive spouses usually know exactly how to trigger their partner’s anxiety and manipulate their reactions so that they get what they want – and that’s seldom fair.
3. You think your spouse is hiding things.
If your spouse’s business income suddenly dried up or you believe that they’re hiding assets, you may not have any choice but to contest your divorce. A judge has the power to take the “missing” assets and income into account when dividing what remains and ordering spousal or child support.
4. You have fundamentally different approaches to parenting.
When parents can’t agree on a co-parenting plan or what’s actually in their children’s best interests, a judge is almost always going to have to step in and make some of the decisions. This is particularly true if the parents are warring over things like the children’s educational needs, medical needs, living arrangements or religious instruction.
Don’t assume that an uncontested divorce is your best (or only) option. Learning more about how divorce works can help you make informed decisions in your case.