What Is the Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce?

If you and your spouse are getting a divorce, you may wonder how long the process will take, how expensive it will be, and how you will resolve complex issues. Depending on the circumstances of your divorce and the issues that need to be resolved, the divorce process can take anywhere from several months to several years, and the legal fees will vary significantly.

If you and your spouse can agree on all key issues, you may seek an uncontested divorce, which is generally much less expensive and time-consuming than a contested divorce. Regardless of the type of divorce that you pursue, it is highly recommended that you contact an experienced lawyer who can help you navigate the process and negotiate the best possible settlement outcome.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

Most couples prefer an uncontested divorce since it is typically less expensive, time-consuming, and contentious. If you can resolve the key issues productively and respectfully, you may reach a mutually agreeable divorce settlement.

The process of an uncontested divorce generally involves the following:

  • One spouse hires a divorce lawyer to draft the documents.
  • Both spouses review the document and agree to all terms, including custody, child support, spousal support, and the division of assets and debts.
  • Mediation may occur.
  • A judge reviews the documents. If the judge approves the terms, they will sign the document.
  • Once approved, the final divorce decree is entered.

What Is a Contested Divorce?

Unfortunately, not all couples can agree on many issues that need to be resolved, in which case a judge must make the final decision. Several steps are involved in a contested divorce, making the process much more time-consuming and costly. The steps involved in a contested divorce may include the following:

  • Prepare and file the divorce documents.
  • The served spouse has 20 days to respond to the documents.
  • A case management conference (CMC) is scheduled, likely occurring approximately 90 days after the documents are filed.
  • Discovery is opened, where both divorce lawyers gather and present evidence for the trial. Both sides’ lawyers can request documents and hold depositions.
  • The case proceeds to a trial.
  • The judge makes a final ruling and enters a final decree.

Even uncontested divorces can be complex, so having an experienced divorce lawyer on your side is in your best interest. It is essential to have legal representation in a contested divorce since they are much more complicated and potentially contentious. A dedicated divorce lawyer will protect your legal rights, from filing the documents to representing you in court.

Our Skilled Paramus Divorce Lawyers at TMO Law LLC Help Clients Navigate the Divorce Process

If you and your spouse are getting a divorce, do not hesitate to contact our Paramus divorce lawyers at TMO Law LLC. Whether you are pursuing a contested or uncontested divorce, our dedicated legal team will help. To schedule a confidential consultation, call 201-971-4866 or contact us online. Located in Paramus, New Jersey, we serve clients in Bergen, Passaic, Morris, Essex, and Hudson counties, and northern New Jersey.