What Is the Difference between a Contested & Uncontested Divorce?


Divorces don’t always happen one way. In fact, there are two basic types of divorce that spouses can have: a contested divorce and an uncontested divorce. As you might assume, there are key distinctions between these types of divorce. We find that it’s beneficial for those considering or going through the early stages of divorce to understand the implications of having a contested or uncontested process.

What ‘Contested’ & ‘Uncontested’ Refer To

A divorce is considered to be contested or uncontested depending upon whether or not spouses need to settle the terms of their divorce in court.

An uncontested divorce is the easiest to explain. In a nutshell, it means that you and your spouse agree to the terms of your divorce. There’s no need to litigate issues like child custody, property division, debt allocation, or spousal support because there is no disagreement on them.

By contrast, a contested divorce implies that there is either some or total disagreement on the terms of the divorce, and ultimately a judge will need to decide on these arrangements.

Which One Is Easier?

It’s fair to say that an uncontested divorce is an easier process to go through. Because spouses already agree on critical terms of their divorce, moderate mediation may be needed to hammer out the details.

These details will include the following:

  • Property Division
  • Spousal Support
  • Debt Allocation
  • Parenting Plan (Custody Agreement)

An uncontested divorce is one that avoids the court – at least until a judge is needed to approve the settlement and sign the decree – and that means saving time, money, and heartache over the process for most people.

Grounds for a Contested Divorce

Spouses who can’t agree to the terms of their divorce must file for a contested divorce. Unlike an uncontested divorce, grounds are needed in this case. Basically, “grounds” refers to the underlying reason for the divorce and why certain terms can’t be agreed upon.

Grounds for a contested divorce can include the following:

  • Adultery
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Bigamy
  • Felony conviction
  • Impotence and sterility

Contact Us for Legal Assistance

If you are considering divorce or are in its early stages, hiring legal counsel can help you protect your interests and property. Learn more about what J. Roland Jeter, P.C. can do for you by scheduling a consultation with our attorney.

For more information, contact us online now.

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