What is the difference between an uncontested divorce and a contested divorce?

Regardless of whether or not you and your spouse have a stable relationship or not and get along well, divorce tends to bring out emotional stressors that can later manifest in conflict. This is where contested divorce, better known as Fault Divorce and uncontested divorce, better known as No-Fault Divorce come into play. It’s important to know the difference between the two so as to be better prepared for the divorce proceedings yet to come.

Uncontested Divorce (No-Fault Divorce)

In the state of New Jersey, you will file a divorce complaint at the requisite court closest to where you reside. This process may seem simple and it actually can be simpler when filing for an uncontested divorce in New Jersey.

Should you and your spouse have a good relationship and are ending the marriage on good terms, an uncontested divorce is a likely option for you. Here are some elements to consider if you intend on filing that can illustrate that you and your spouse are good candidates for an uncontested divorce:

  • You and your spouse are on friendly terms
  • There are no children involved
  • There is no joint property involved
  • There are no joint financial accounts involved

Contested Divorce (Fault Divorce)

Despite what your relationship once was and whether or not it ended on good terms or not; a contested divorce really consists of two parties ending a marriage where one is not quite ready to end it yet, or one or both parties cannot agree on how to resolve child custody, real property, or financial property divisions.

In the case of a contentious relationship, there is room for a high tension process when divorcing.

Often one party refuses to even discuss divorce as an option while the other party can no longer compromise and is ready to move on. In these cases, it’s important to note that when one is determined to officially end their marriage, the court allows them to do so. The party reluctant to agree to the divorce has zero control over whether or not the divorce can proceed. In this case, a contested divorce will be filed.

Child Custody, Real Property, Financial Property, And Other Assets

Agreeing To Disagree

Often a marriage will accumulate real property, financial assets and involve the custody of children. In a complex relationship, spouses often disagree on who should have custody of the children, who gets to live in the house, how bank accounts or financial assets are split and whether or not spousal maintenance is fair. This too often leads to the filing of an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce will involve more time and resources.

What’s Involved In An Uncontested Divorce?

  • Negotiations between the spouse’s attorney for arbitration
  • Often requires mediation
  • Settlement talks to avoid a trial
  • Child mediation
  • Temporary orders of alimony, child and/or spousal support
  • Trial preparations if no compromise can be reached

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Uncontested Vs. Contested