What is the Difference Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce?

Divorce proceedings can be very challenging and time-consuming. It requires a great amount of patience to make the decisions that are required 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 Massachusetts, there are two main types of divorces: contested divorce and uncontested divorce. These types of divorce allow couples to go through with the process in a way 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 is when spouses cannot come to an agreement on their marital issues. When this happens, neither spouse signs an agreement on their terms of separation. This then leaves their issues unsolved. When this happens, a judge takes over the decision-making process and decides how to resolve the disagreements. This may include decisions regarding matters 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 accountable 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
  • Lack of mental capacity
  • Cruelty
  • Impotency
  • Incarceration for over 5 years
  • Habitual intoxication or drug addiction
  • Fraudulent marriage

Uncontested Divorce

In an uncontested divorce, all marital issues between the spouses are resolved. This pertains to matters such as alimony, child custody and support, parenting time, division of assets, and any payment of debts. 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.” There are two types of irretrievable breakdowns:

  • 1A Divorce: When both spouses agree on their marital issues.
  • 1B Divorce: When marital issues are left unresolved.

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 Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C. today.

If you require compassionate and knowledgeable legal guidance for a matter of divorce, family or estate law, please contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley today. Our firm proudly serves clients in Mansfield, Massachusetts and throughout Bristol County.