When Uncontested Divorces in Washington Become Contentious

a couple during an uncontested divorce

According to the Washington State Vital Statistics, more than 21,000 couples filed for divorce in 2020 alone. Most divorces completed in Washington are uncontested—meaning litigation was not required because the couple was able to reach a settlement. There are many advantages to an uncontested divorce, it is faster, more cost effective, and can limit hurt feelings. 

That being said, getting an uncontested is not necessarily easy. It is not uncommon for divorcing couples to run into conflict during their uncontested divorce. In this article, our Spokane divorce lawyers highlight the key things you should know if your uncontested divorce is becoming contentious. 

Uncontested Does Not Always Mean Uncontentious

As a starting point, it is important to emphasize that not all uncontested divorces are uncontentious. Even if you and your spouse are on poor terms, an uncontested divorce may still be a better option for you both than a contested divorce. You do not have to get along well to use the uncontested divorce process in Washington. You and your spouse simply have to find an agreement on key marital issues, including property division, alimony, child custody, and child support.  

Be Proactive: A More Structured Process May Necessary 

If your divorce is becoming more contentious as time is passing, you need to be proactive. While this is normal—many divorcing couples run into conflict when they sit down and actually try to work out the specific—you do not want the process to get derailed. An uncontested divorce that is becoming contentious is generally a good candidate for a more structured process—especially if you and your spouse are currently trying to negotiate a divorce settlement on your own. For example, your divorce could be a strong candidate for mediation. The mediation process can help facilitate a workable resolution and keep things from escalating even further. 

An Attorney Can Help You Determine the Best Path Forward

What will happen when your uncontested divorce becomes contentious ultimately depends on the specific circumstances of your case. An uncontested divorce could become a contested divorce. If you and your spouse cannot reach a final agreement on your own, you will not be able to reach an uncontested divorce. You will have to rely on the court to resolve the matter. Of course, this can be expensive and time-consuming—meaning it is not the right option for most divorcing couples. Still, you always have the right to pursue litigation to protect your best interests. 

The Bottom Line: An uncontested divorce that is becoming more contentious could end up becoming a contested divorce. However, there are strategies that you can use to try to reach an uncontested divorce settlement even if you and your former partner are struggling to get along. 

Schedule a Fully Confidential Consultation With a Spokane Divorce Attorney

At Hodgson Law Office, our Spokane divorce attorneys have experience handling both uncontested and contested divorce cases. If your uncontested divorce is becoming increasingly contentious, we are here to help you find the best path forward. Do not give up on a settlement. Contact us today for a fully confidential family law consultation. With an office in Spokane, we provide divorce guidance throughout Eastern Washington, including in Spokane County, Grant County, and Adams County.