When you and your spouse initiate the divorce process, it can go one of two ways: you can be in agreement over most issues, or you can disagree on multiple points and need the help of the courts to divide your assets and reach a fair settlement. If you agree to most terms, you can file for an uncontested divorce in Virginia. When you disagree on most terms, you’ll need to file for a contested divorce. 

Unfortunately, things don’t always go according to plan, and this can leave you and your spouse facing more disagreements than agreements. So, what can you do? Can you switch from an uncontested divorce to a contested divorce?

Fighting couple silhouetted at sunset

Switching to a Contested Divorce Is Possible

Uncontested divorces only work when you and your spouse are in complete agreement over everything or can reach a compromise on the issues you disagree on. If you and your spouse discover that you disagree on how your assets and property should be divided and can’t reach an agreement on your own, you can switch the type of divorce you’re pursuing. 

To do this, you’ll need to speak with your attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you let them know that circumstances have changed, the sooner they can initiate the proper paperwork and help you continue the divorce process.


How to Keep Divorce Conversations Civil

What Happens When You Switch

When you switch from an uncontested divorce to a contested divorce, you’re changing the type of legal filing you’re pursuing. But there’s more to this than changing or updating the paperwork. You’re effectively agreeing to go before a judge and request the court’s help in reaching an equitable distribution of property. 

Once you start the contested divorce process, you’re agreeing to complete the divorce with a judge’s help. During your divorce hearing, the judge will divide your property up based on what they believe is in the best interest of all parties involved. The judge will make the final decisions, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them.

Is Switching the Right Choice?

Ultimately, pursuing an uncontested divorce is always easier and takes less time. However, if you and your spouse truly can’t agree on the terms of the divorce, pursuing a contested divorce will be your best option. If you’re not sure which type of divorce is right for your situation, think about the types of conversations you and your spouse have had recently.

If you’re in agreement and are still reaching compromises as you divide up your assets, maintaining an uncontested divorce is the best option. But if every conversation has started turning into a fight, switching to a contested divorce will be in your best interest.

Work With an Experienced Divorce Attorney

Regardless of the type of divorce you and your spouse pursue, you’ll want to work with an experienced Virginia divorce attorney to help guide you through the process. At AC Rieman Law, we have experience helping clients with both uncontested and contested divorces. Our team will do everything we can to help streamline your filing so you can get back to living your life the way you want. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.