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What is the Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce?

When spouses go through a divorce, it requires a great deal of decision making and patience. In order for a divorce to be official, the couple is required to settle the terms of their separation. This can be done through litigation in a courtroom or with alternative methods that exist outside of a courtroom. How couples go through a divorce is dependent on their own personal situation. A divorce can either be contested or uncontested. During these proceedings, it is important to have an experienced divorce attorney at your side to assist the process.

Contested Divorce

Sometimes, spouses are not able to come to a conclusion and agree on their marital assets. When this happens, neither spouse signs an agreement regarding their marital issues. This is known as a contested divorce. In these situations, a judge can be appointed to make these decisions for them. This can include matters such as child support, custody, dividing their assets, and alimony. 

Before divorce proceedings can begin, couples must cite grounds for their divorce. When they cite “fault” grounds, it means one spouse wishes to hold the other responsible for the end of their relationship. Fault grounds are generally cited in one of the following situations: 

  • Adultery
  • Abandonment
  • Desertion
  • Incarceration
  • Institutionalization
  • Extreme cruelty

Uncontested Divorce

Spouses also sometimes cite “no-fault” grounds in their divorce. This means neither spouse wants to hold the other responsible for the end of the marriage. In these situations, both agree their marriage has broken down and cannot be fixed. When spouses can agree to the terms of their divorce, it is called an uncontested divorce. It is also known as an “Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage.” 

Before a divorce is official, couples are required to resolve all marital issues. This can be done in several different ways. Many people believe divorce only occurs through litigation in a courtroom. However, there are other methods that couples can participate in that allow them to settle these matters. This can include mediation, arbitration, or a collaborative divorce. Each process may better suit a couple depending on their personal situation. In these processes, spouses are able to discuss marital issues such as alimony, child custody and support, parenting time, division of assets, and any payment of debts.

Contact our Firm

If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.