Believe it or not, how you divorce matters, especially when children and property are involved. There are vital differences between a contested and uncontested divorce.

If your divorce proceeds uncontested, civility has won, and you two have come to an agreement on all terms surrounding the divorce. Benefits of an uncontested divorce include no trial and financial savings due to not having to pay court and legal fees.

A contested divorce is much different. In man contested divorces, disagreements and proposed solutions battle it out until a compromise is reached. As highlighted above, many of the issues arise from child support, spousal support, and property division. Property division is especially tough when the couple shares multiple properties. Contested divorces often go to court, but court can be avoided if mediation, arbitration, or a collaborative approach solves your disagreements.

California is a community property state

This means that any property (stocks, investments, land, commercial, or residential property) that was purchased during the length of the marriage is community property (owned equally by both partners.) Because of this, it can be difficult to come to an agreement. While the length of your marriage factors in the judgment of spousal support, it does not carry any weight when determining property division.

Also, the kind of property being divided will heed different results. For example, stocks and investments would likely be divided by equal shares. As far as the marital home and other properties, if the couple can’t reach an agreement, the judge may decree that the property is sold. If that occurred, the earnings after closing would be split between each spouse.

One benefit of a community property state is that any property that is distinctly in your name only is yours to keep.