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What is the difference between contested and uncontested divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 9, 2023 | Family Law

Divorce is a complicated process. You have to make a number of decisions about custody of minor children, asset division, retirement accounts, etc. Every state in the union has “no-fault” divorce laws, so you can receive a divorce for any reason, or no reason at all.

Therefore, you should understand the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce.

Contested divorce

When you do not agree with your spouse on major issues, from custody to division of assets, you face a contested divorce. This type of divorce can last for months or longer.

Contested divorce procedures

If you face a contested divorce, you have several legal procedures available to you. First, a judge will give you a discovery period. You can search for hidden assets to build your case during this time. You also participate in a trial, where a judge will make the final decisions in the areas where you disagree with your spouse. This process can cost you significant legal fees.

Uncontested divorce

If you and your spouse agree on custody issues, division of assets and other decisions, you have an uncontested divorce. This agreement can shorten your divorce process significantly. However, you are still subject to state laws. For example, some states require a six-month separation period before a judge will finalize your divorce.

Uncontested divorce process

In an uncontested divorce, you need to draft the divorce agreement. Then, sign the papers and get your spouse’s signature. A judge will review and sign your documents, providing you with a final decree.

In a contested divorce, you have the right to appeal the judge’s decisions. However, if you go through an uncontested divorce, you cannot appeal the final outcome, but you may have the right to modify your agreement, especially if your circumstances change.