Divorce is a life-altering change for both parties in a relationship. Couples wishing to officially end their legal bond can only do so by way of a divorce order. Although this always involves a filing with the BC Supreme Court, it does not necessarily mean that all divorcing couples must go through a court trial. Our post this week looks at the difference between the two types of divorce – contested and uncontested.
In this type of divorce, both parties not only agree that they will end their marriage, but they have also decided on key decisions such as:
- How to divide family property and debt
- How financial support for the children and an ex-spouse requires will be handled
- Who the children will live with, how they will be cared for and how they spend time with the parent they do not usually live with
So long as a couple has agreed upon these issues, have lived separately for a year and “reasonable arrangements for the children” are in place, the court will typically grant a divorce order, with no need for the parties to appear in court.
Even if a couple has not lived apart for a year, the court may grant a divorce if one side can prove his or her case for unforgiven adultery or physical or mental cruelty that makes living together impossible.
Only about 20 percent of divorces are contested. Also known as defended divorces, these involve cases in which a couple agrees to part ways, but disagrees on the key issues such as parenting, support and property division.
As the couple cannot reach a mutual agreement, they schedule a trial in which they ask a judge to decide for them. However, since going to trial is time-consuming, expensive and stressful, many parties will continue to seek an out-of-court resolution before the trial date. Some alternative dispute resolution methods are mediation, collaborative divorce and arbitration.
The lawyers at Peterson Stark Scott are experienced litigation lawyers and also serve as mediators and collaborative lawyers. They advise divorcing parties on how to arrive at an optimal route for ending a marital relationship.