What are the Differences Between a Contested and an Uncontested Divorce?

Divorces can often be a complex and emotionally exhausting process for a couple. It requires both spouses to have a great amount of patience and the ability to make several decisions to determine the necessary arrangements for a divorce. These proceedings may vary depending on whether or not the spouses can come to agreements on their marital issues. Different types of divorce allow couples to work through the matters at hand in a way that suits their own situation. In the state of New Jersey, there are two main types of divorce: contested divorce and uncontested divorce. If you are going through a divorce, an experienced attorney can guide you through the proceedings.

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce is when both spouses cannot agree on their marital issues. This is when neither spouse signs an agreement regarding their terms of separation. This leaves certain matters unsolved while going into the proceedings. When this happens, a judge takes over to make the necessary decisions to resolve the couple’s disagreements. This may include decisions regarding issues such as child support, custody, the division of assets, and alimony.

In a contested divorce, a spouse is able to cite “fault” or “no-fault” grounds. When no-fault grounds is cited, neither spouse holds the other responsible for the end of their marriage. When this happens, the proceedings can begin. When a spouse cites fault grounds, it means they hold the other spouse responsible for the divorce. This may be due to one of the following:

  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Non-support
  • Cruel and abusive treatment
  • Impotency
  • Incarceration for over 5 years
  • Habitual intoxication or drug addiction

Uncontested Divorce

When both spouses believe their marriage cannot be fixed and agree to the terms of their divorce, it is an uncontested divorce. This is also known as an “Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage.” In these situations, a couple must resolve all marital issues. This is in regard to matters such as alimony, child custody and support, parenting time, division of assets, and any payment of debts.

When a divorce is uncontested, spouses can choose a method of divorce outside of litigation. This may include alternatives such as mediation, arbitration, or collaborative divorce. While these processes are voluntary, they are usually beneficial for all parties involved in the divorce.

Contact our Firm

If you or someone you know is going through a divorce and wishes to seek legal counsel, contact the Law Offices of George J. Mardinly today.

Our firm proudly represents clients in New Jersey who are faced with matters of family law, criminal defense, business law, real estate law, or estate planning. If you require strong and dedicated representation for any of your legal matters, contact The Law Offices of George J. Mardinly to schedule a consultation.