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Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state. This means that if you would like a divorce, you may only cite that irreconcilable differences led to the breakdown of your marriage. Furthermore, at least you or your spouse must meet the residency requirement — one of you must be a resident of the state for 180 days prior to filing.

Depending on whether you and your spouse are able to resolve issues such as the distribution of assets and property, spousal support, child support, and child custody, your divorce may be contested or uncontested.

However, every marriage is different and what works for others may not be appropriate for your situation. Regardless of how you intend on ending your marriage, you should seek legal assistance. In some cases, a divorce may start out uncontested and then a disagreement down the road leads to litigation. Even in uncontested divorces, some people choose to have attorneys to ensure their rights are protected.

Following are some of the differences between contested and uncontested divorce:

Uncontested divorce

  • Is usually concluded within a few months
  • Does not involve litigation
  • Is less expensive than contested divorce

Contested divorce

  • Can take several months or longer
  • Generally involves litigation
  • Can be useful in resolving complex situations

In a perfect world, no one would divorce and if they did, they would choose an uncontested divorce. Yet in reality, sometimes discussion and cooperation prove futile. As your marriage comes to an end, you and your spouse may have differing and steadfast opinions about how your union should be dissolved.  If your separation involves high financial stakes and technical legal procedures or a heated dispute over child custody, be prepared for a contested divorce and consult with an experienced attorney immediately.

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  • "Tori had a thorough understanding of my situation and made excellent recommendations to resolve my concerns. She was persistent on communication and handled everything in a very timely manner. I would definitely hire her again in the future if needed." - M.K.

  • "With Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A., it is like having a family physician. They are all knowledgeable, thorough, comforting, and the only call I need to make for all my legal needs for many years to come. No matter what the matter, I totally trust their advice and commitment to me and my family." - J.N.

  • "Mary from APH Law helped me thru a difficult divorce. She and the entire staff was there for me every step of the way helping me on what to do next. They listened to what I wanted and helped me achieve what matter the most to me in the divorce settlement." - Dana C.

  • "I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.

  • "Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties.Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.

  • "I first came to Ms. Jacquelyn Lutz of Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart in October of 2016. It was definitely the worst time in my life and she compassionately spoke with me about my options. Ms. Lutz thoroughly explained the laws, statutes, process and what to expect going forward. What was supposed to be one case, turned into three intricate cases that took a huge toll on me and my family. Ms. Lutz represented me in court on all three cases with a vast knowledge of the laws and how to proceed accordingly. During all three cases she kept me informed, calm, gave me resources to utilize, and (most important) gave me a realistic view of what may come next. Ms. Lutz knew each case required a great deal of knowledge and creative thinking on how to legally proceed forward with each case. My family and friends are forever grateful for the amazing representation by Ms. Lutz. I highly recommend Ms. Lutz for anyone needing or considering superb representation for any kind of family law. " - M.H.


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