Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce: What's the Difference?

Divorce is never an ideal situation, but an uncontested divorce is the best outcome for this unfortunate process. A contested divorce can easily turn into the stuff of nightmares.

These are the two general types of divorce in most states. Their meaning is opposite. Contest comes from the Latin contestari which means “call upon to witness.” In the case of a divorce, one or the other party may be called upon to attest that elements of the opposing party’s position are wrong. In a contested divorce, both parties are engaged in a dispute.

To find out more about these two types of divorce, keep reading below.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce means that both parties agree to all the terms of the disunion. Even though it’s an ideal outcome, it’s still not easy. The former couple will need to comb through their life, evaluating every detail of a formerly shared piece of their life.

The general procedure for this type of divorce is as follows:

  1. Prepare documents
  2. Spouses review and sign the documents
  3. A judge reviews and signs the documents
  4. A final divorce decree is given

Considering that a contested divorce will cost no less than $20,000, uncontested divorce is more common than most people think. In contrast, an uncontested divorce may cost as little as $500. Of course, it’s still not free. A bulk of this cost is simply filing numerous court documents.

You can read more about this type of divorce here:

What Is a Contested Divorce?

A contested divorce means that the divorcing parties do not agree on the terms, and they intend to fight it out in court. Litigation is not cheap, and this option is usually for those fighting over money or children. They have to have deep pockets to do so.

A contested divorce is also a long, drawn-out, painful process. Spouses have to provide disclosure forms, attend hearings and depositions, consider settlements, all before going to court. Then, a judge will hold a trial that may involve witnesses and evidence. The process can be quite complex and exhausting.

False-Based Divorce

Depending on the state where the divorce takes place, one of the parties may choose to file for a fault-based divorce. In the past, finding fault with one spouse was a legal requirement. Now, all states offer no-fault divorce options.

However, some states may still allow fault to be claimed, and allow the evidence to sway decisions on asset distribution or custody. Either way, it has no bearing on whether the divorce is classified as contested or uncontested.

Hiring a Professional Attorney

Regardless of the type of divorce a person engages in, the best course of action is to immediately retain a professional and experienced divorce attorney. Even in an uncontested divorce, there is a long list of assets to negotiate and, potentially, even custody agreements to write. There is specific paperwork to file and a professional can help make this already difficult process a bit easier.

For more helpful legal guides like this one, make sure to check out our page.

Leave a Reply