Contested and Uncontested Divorce Law and Legal Definition

In contested divorces, the parties are adversarial and unable to agree on the terms of divorce. Common areas of disagreement include, but are not limited to: grounds for divorce, custody of the children, visitation rights, division of the assets of the marriage, child support, maintenance (alimony), payment of family debts, contribution toward educational expenses (college or parochial), payment of health insurance for the dependent spouse, income tax structuring, etc. Both parties may desire a divorce, but cannot agree on important issues like, but not limited to, property distribution, debt allocation, child support, custody, and alimony. In a contested divorce, the couple seeks to let the court system decide the matters related to the divorce.

In uncontested divorces, the parties are in agreement on all matters, and the court serves to approve their divorce agreement. In some states, expedited procedures exist for uncontested divorce, sometimes referred to as a dissolution. Such a dissolution may be a faster and less expensive alternative, as the parties may file the papers without hiring an attorney.