This is a great question because the terms “uncontested divorce” and “contested divorce” are often confused and misused in Kentucky. First and foremost, these terms are not used much, if at all (we have not found any references to it), in Kentucky’s divorce statutes. The terms are, however, often referenced in local rules of the various KY family courts and in the Family Court Rules of Practice and Procedure (FCRPP). To make it more confusing, attorneys and clients often use the terms in different ways. In our office, here’s how we define the two:
- We define a true Lexington KY uncontested divorce as one where two parties have agreed on each and every issue that could arise in their case before they ever come to our office. They know how they want their property and debts divided to the penny because they have already discussed the issue together. If the parties have minor children, they come to our office knowing what custody arrangement they want, what parenting time arrangement they want, and what they want to do with regard to supporting the children. They know whether maintenance/alimony is needed and have agreed upon a number and duration. They know how their retirement accounts are to be treated. The client tells us what they want coming out of the divorce, and we draw up all of the paperwork, protect their interests in the drafting, follow the necessary legal procedures, and overall see their case through the Lexington KY divorce process from start to finish. Basically, what makes our role different in an uncontested divorce is that we are not needed for negotiations, we are not called upon to file motions, we are not called upon to assist with resolving any issues, and we are not called upon to go to Court. The advantages to an uncontested divorce are numerous, but most clients appreciate that the process is much quicker and that our legal fees are generally less expensive and more predictable.
- It should be noted that an “uncontested divorce” does NOT mean that the parties simply both want to be divorced.
- On the other side of the spectrum, we define a contested divorce as one where there are any disputes or disagreements in the process. Contested divorces can involve revisions to agreements, negotiations, formal or informal discovery, mediations, motions, hearings, etc.
- It should be noted that contested divorces can range from simple to complex. You might just need a little help discussing your options with regard to parenting time schedules. You might just need us to revise a previously drafted agreement because you and your spouse agreed on something else. Or, you and your spouse could fight over literally every issue possible such as who keeps the CD collection from the ‘90s. The point here is that just because a case is not purely “uncontested” does not mean that your case has to be complicated. There are levels of complication, and you could fall anywhere on the spectrum. Generally speaking, the more you and your spouse agree upon without a Lexington KY lawyer, the lower and more predictable our attorney fees will be in your Lexington KY divorce.