Is It Better to Settle or Litigate a Contested Divorce in Oklahoma?

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What is an Uncontested Divorce in Oklahoma?

In an uncontested divorce, the spouses have come to a mutual agreement on child custody, child support, spousal support, and the division of property, assets, and debts. Reaching an agreement on a divorce settlement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse can save you time, money, and stress.

However, an uncontested divorce is not possible for everybody, and you should not take it as a personal failure if you and your spouse cannot agree. The things in your life are worth fighting for and sometimes, finding a middle ground is nearly impossible.

What is a Waiver Divorce?

A waiver divorce is another term for an uncontested divorce. This term is not used everywhere but can often be heard across Oklahoma. When you hear or read the term’ waiver divorce,’ know that it also refers to divorces in which the divorcing couple agrees to all issues and is ready to dissolve their marital relationship without further disputes.

The term waiver divorce refers to the respondent in the divorce (the spouse receiving the petition for dissolution of marriage) waiving the right to counter-petition the divorce papers. A contested divorce would have the respondent filing a responsive pleading, but the respondent’ waives’ that right in an uncontested divorce or a waiver divorce.

What Are the Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce?

Oklahoma allows spouses to file for a ‘fault divorce’ or ‘no-fault divorce.’ An uncontested divorce is only possible in Oklahoma if you are filing for a no-fault divorce. Once this is filed, the divorcing spouses must agree on all the relevant issues in a divorce.

If even one category is contested – child support, alimony, or property division, just as examples – then it cannot be an uncontested divorce. These agreements can be submitted to divorce court jointly or separately.

What is a Contested Divorce?

Unlike an uncontested divorce, a contested divorce plays out when the two spouses do not agree on the divorce terms. If agreements on legal matters such as visitation rights, parenting time, and division of real property are not possible, then a divorce becomes contested.

The family law court may decide on the parties’ behalf in a contested divorce. This is not ideal, as it could mean you do not retain the assets or do not get the child custody arrangement you were hoping for. Hiring an experienced divorce attorney to represent your interests is strongly recommended. With a good lawyer and a convincing case, winning the terms you seek in divorce litigation is possible.

Are Child Custody Disputes Easier to Resolve With Mediation?

No other legal issue is more hotly contested in family law than child custody. It is easy for these negotiations to spiral out of control without the help of professional divorce lawyers in either corner. And, if the spats play out before a judge, the court may view you with less sympathetic eyes. If the judge sides against you, your ex-spouse could retain full custody, limiting your visitation rights by a large degree.

An alternative dispute resolution (ADR) available for all divorce negotiations (but particularly helpful during child custody disputes) is mediation. In mediation, a neutral third-party legal professional, the mediator, sits down and helps both parties discuss their goals. The hope is that mediation will allow cooler heads to prevail and reach a middle ground between the two parties.

It is worth noting that the mediator cannot provide legal advice to either party during mediation. For this reason, bringing your divorce attorney to mediation with you is advisable. While the attorney may not lead the negotiation, they will be present to defend your rights and responsibilities.

What Are the Benefits of Litigation Versus a Settlement?

The benefits of trying for a settlement include:

  • Expenses. The longer a divorce goes on, the more you’ll have to pay in attorney legal fees and court fees. If you and your ex-partner can agree to terms, then you’ll have fewer fees to pay.
  • Less emotionally exhausting. Especially in cases where a marriage resulted in children, it is better to consider the benefits of a waiver divorce. The less fighting and resentment you build up in court battles, the easier the future is likely to be.
  • They’re shorter. As soon as you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse agree on terms and file the necessary paperwork, you can be legally separated. The longer that terms go without an agreement, the longer things will be drawn out.

With all of that being said, a contested divorce has its benefits, too. These include:

  • Retain the assets you want. If you and your spouse cannot agree on how to divide assets, you may need a contested divorce.
  • Stand up for yourself against unfair costs. If you believe that an alimony or child support agreement is unfair, you can challenge the financial demands with a contested divorce.
  • The visitation rights are unfair. If your ex wants to limit your visitation rights, you can challenge that in court.

Contact Our Law Firm to Speak with Experienced Divorce Lawyers Today

If you’re unsure whether a settlement or litigation is the right path for you in your divorce proceedings, please contact our Tulsa-based law offices. Our family law legal team would be proud to answer your questions and concerns.

Divorce can be difficult. Don’t make it more difficult by going it alone without the help of an experienced attorney. To schedule your initial consultation, please call 918-307-1529.

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