At this point in your relationship, the only thing that you and your spouse agree on is that neither of you wants to continue being married to the other.
Doesn’t that pretty much make your divorce uncontested? Not exactly — but it is a good start. Here’s what you should know about these two terms, and why the option you choose can be so important.
One is handled by mutual agreement, while the other is not
A contested divorce merely means that the couple is unable to reach any kind of agreement on at least one important issue that has to be decided in the divorce. That could be anything from who gets what part of the vinyl record collection to custody of the children. When that happens, the divorce has to be litigated. A judge will then eventually make the call on the contested issues.
A contested divorce can also come about because one party files for divorce based on fault or the idea that the marriage is irretrievably broken (Missouri’s no-fault option) and the other spouse denies their statements. That’s far less common, however, than spouses litigating their divorce over issues of support, custody and the division of the marital property.
By comparison, an uncontested divorce means that a couple has managed to negotiate agreements on pretty much everything — leaving the judge little else to do except review the agreement and sign off.
Naturally, uncontested divorces are cheaper, easier and faster than contested divorces. Just being in agreement with your spouse that you both want to end the marriage is a productive place to start the conversation.