5. What does it mean for a family case to be “uncontested?”
“Uncontested” is a word that is used to describe a case where the parties agree on all of the issues. “Contested” describes a case where the parties do not agree on all of the issues. In an uncontested case, the court is not asked to decide any contested issues, but is asked to review and approve the agreement of the parties. The court must find that the agreement of the parties is fair and equitable.
6. What if the case is not uncontested?
In any family case where the parties do not have an agreement, it may be handled in a way that gives the parties a chance to settle the case. For example, the case may be assigned for a Special Masters pretrial, where experienced attorneys who volunteer their time meet with the attorneys and the parties in the case to try to solve the issues. There are a number of other programs to help the case to be decided without a trial. Which program is right depends on the case. If the case can be decided without a trial, it can be handled as an uncontested case, sometimes on the same day. However, if the parties are not able to agree, a hearing or trial will be needed and a judge will decide, or a family support magistrate will decide if it is a IV-D child support case.