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What is the Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce?

Divorce proceedings can often be complex and time-consuming. It requires a great deal of patience to make the necessary decisions and arrangements to end a marriage. The process of a divorce may depend on if spouses can come to an agreement on their marital issues. In the state of New Jersey, there are two main types of divorces: contested divorce and uncontested divorce. Different types of divorce allow couples to go through a process that suits their situation. If you are going through a divorce, an experienced attorney can guide you through the proceedings.

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce occurs when both spouses cannot come to an agreement on their marital issues. This means neither spouse signs an agreement on their terms of separation, thus leaving these matters unsolved. When this happens, a judge takes over the decision-making process and decides how to resolve the 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 is holding the other responsible for the end of their marriage. When this happens, they may begin the divorce proceedings. When a spouse cites fault grounds, it means they are holding the other spouse accountable for an action that led to the divorce. This may include situations such as:

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

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce typically occurs when both spouses believe their marriage cannot be fixed and agree to the settlements of their divorce. This is also known as an “Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage.” When this happens, a couple resolves 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 if they wish to divorce through mediation, arbitration, or collaborative divorce instead of litigation. These processes are voluntary, although it is typically a more efficient process and beneficial for all family involved.

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 Haber Silver Russoniello & Dunn today.

If you require strong legal representation for matters related to divorce or family law, Haber Silver Russoniello & Dunn is here to help. We proudly represent clients in Morris County and throughout the state of New Jersey. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.

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