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Interior of an empty courtroom showing judge's bench, witness stand, jury box, and spectator seating for a mediated divorce hearing. American flag and state seal are visible in the background.

What is the Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce?

Going through a divorce can often be a difficult and emotionally exhausting process for a couple. It requires a great amount of patience and decision making in order to determine the necessary arrangements for a divorce. The process of a divorce may depend on if spouses can come to an agreement 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 come to an agreement on their marital issues. In this situation, neither spouse signs an agreement on their terms of separation. This leaves these matters unsolved. When this happens, a judge takes over and makes the decisions in order 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 are holding the other spouse responsible for the divorce. This may be due to one of the following situations:

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

Uncontested Divorce

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

When a divorce is uncontested, the spouses can choose a method of divorce outside of litigation. This may include mediation, arbitration, or collaborative divorce. These processes are voluntary, although 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 Office of Sabrina Gianna, LLC. today.

Matters of divorce and family law require the attention and skill of an experienced attorney who will fight for your future. If you need a divorce and family law attorney in Ocean County, New Jersey, contact the Law Office of Sarina Gianna, LLC today to schedule a consultation.