Nearly half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce, so if your marriage is irretrievably broken, don’t despair. Unfortunately when it comes to having a happy marriage, the odds are stacked against you from day one.

Divorce is as much a legal matter as it is an emotional one. Because so many assets and debts are typically tied into a marriage, it takes a significant amount of work to address how those assets will be efficiently and fairly divided. If there were children produced in the marriage, or adopted from a previous relationship, child custody, visitation and support will have to be sorted out as well.

A divorce can take one of two directions and is therefore categorized into two separate categories. In the legal community a divorce is referred to as either an uncontested divorce or a contested divorce. What is the difference between the two?

In an uncontested divorce, the spouses can agree on the terms of their divorce. They agree on important matters such as asset division, property division, who will pay which debts, what will be done with the family home and who will keep custody of the children. These types of divorces are always ideal, but not always realistic.

Divorce can be a very stressful and emotionally upsetting experience, in many cases it is considered to be one of the most difficult experiences an adult will ever have to go through aside from the death of a child. This is especially the case when adultery was a factor in the dissolution of the marriage, or if one of the spouses is already dating another person before the divorce is finalized. Feelings of jealousy and betrayal can have a large impact on the course of a divorce proceeding and these feelings can complicate matters even more.

When a couple cannot agree on every part of their divorce, or when they cannot reach a compromise then it is referred to as a contested divorce. These types of divorces require the assistance of an experienced and aggressive family lawyer. Without an attorney representing your best interests, you could stand to lose a lot. You do not want to be the spouse with the disadvantage in any type of divorce proceedings; instead you want to be the one with the upper hand when your once beloved spouse becomes your adversary. The right family lawyer will be able to navigate you through the murky divorce waters so you can gain a clear understanding of your rights and legal obligations. To give yourself the best opportunities in your divorce case, contact a family attorney without delay!