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What is the difference between contested and uncontested divorce?

When couples in New York and elsewhere decide to end their marriage, it might be a mutual situation. Both spouses look at the marriage as being a negative relationship, and ending it will provide both of them with the ability to start fresh. However, some spouses are caught off-guard when their spouse files for divorce. This can sometimes be a complex matter, as contesting a divorce requires much more work.

What is the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce? An uncontested divorce is when both spouses decide to divorce. This also means that both spouses agree on what will happen with children, finances and property during and following the divorce process. An uncontested divorce can be much simpler and easy process. Spouses are able to work on reaching an agreement on their own, filing it with the court once complete. However, if they cannot reach an agreement on their own, it is possible to obtain help through mediation and collaborative family law.

On the other hand, a contested divorce is when either spouse does not want to get a divorce, disagrees on the grounds, or rather the legal reasons, for the divorce or disagrees about what will happen with children, finances or property after divorce. This type of divorce requires going to court, providing information on the issues disagreed upon or why one does not want to divorce. Although spouses are not agreeing at this point, it might still be possible to utilize the mediation and collaborative law approach.

Getting a divorce is not easy by any means. Whether it is contested or not, it is important that spouses understand the process and how best to proceed through it. This can help ensure no issues occur and disputes are mitigated or resolved.

Source: NYCourts.gov, "Divorce Information & Frequently Asked Questions," accessed on March 25, 2018

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