Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce


When you have a contested divorce, you will be required to file a complaint for divorce, instead of a petition. This is because you and your spouse cannot agree on the issues at the onset of the proceedings.  Most divorces will start this way, but a divorce agreement is soon figured out.

A contested divorce is simply one where there is no signed written agreement when the divorce is filed. Generally, fault grounds are not used even in what’s called a contested divorce. The reason a complaint for divorce gets filed instead of a joint petition for divorce is you don’t have an agreement at the time you start the divorce proceeding but the majority of divorces do end up with an agreement. Even though a divorce might start off as contested, it often ends with an agreement.


To obtain an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse must complete a joint divorce petition.  You will also need to complete a separation agreement, a financial statement for each part which includes pay stubs and tax returns, an affidavit to show that your marriage is irretrievably broken down, and a few more small things.  You and your spouse must be in full agreement to all the divorce issues.

Most divorce clients want to start out the procedure as uncontested, but some issues become conflicted and that will lead to a contested divorce. The hardest thing with filing a joint petition for divorce is coming up with the terms of the agreement. Some people come into the office in Mansfield and they think that they have an agreement and that they have talked about all the terms necessary for the agreement.  However, sometimes they have not covered everything.  Other times, they think their spouse will agree on the terms and then they do not. A divorce becomes uncontested once there is a signed separation agreement.