One of the first questions that you'll be asked by an attorney is what kind of divorce you have.  Here's how we explain the two:  If you and your spouse can both explain how you want to divide all of your property and accounts, and tell the attorney the exact custody arrangement that you want for your children, then your divorce is uncontested. You must agree on everything involved in ending the marriage. If you have a dispute over anything, your divorce is contested. For example, if your husband wants to have three weekend visits a month, and you believe he should have two, that is a contested issue which makes your divorce contested.

Retainer fees for each kind of divorce are generally different. A contested divorce will always carry a higher retainer than an uncontested divorce (which is mostly done by flat-fee agreement). This is because of the work involved in the two, and the different court processes that an attorney must follow.


A lawyer can only represent one party in an uncontested divorce, and that will be the party that files for the divorce.  At Hackett Law Firm, our process is this:  We collect the information needed from you in order to file your complaint for divorce, and proceed to file the divorce. We draft the remaining appropriate documents and mail them to the other party, advising that they have thirty (30) days to sign and return them to our office. When the documents are received, your matter is set for a hearing. In an uncontested divorce, only the filing party need be present for a hearing.


In a contested divorce, we collect the information needed from you in order to file your complaint for divorce, and proceed to file the divorce. Your spouse is then served with process of the proceeding, and he or she has thirty (30) days to answer the complaint for divorce. If your spouse answers within that thirty (30) days, the process of negotiation will proceed.  If your spouse does not answer within that time period, a default judgment may be entered against him or her for a divorce.

It is very important that you make the proper choice in proceeding with your divorce. You can end up either wasting a lot of time, or adding additional time and fees to your divorce if you choose the wrong path. Have a talk with your spouse, be honest with yourself about what agreements or conflicts may arise, and prepare yourself mentally for the process of divorce.