It is very easy to confuse the two concepts of an Uncontested Divorce with that of a No-Fault Divorce since they sound like they might be relatively similar.  In fact, the two concepts are miles apart in what they mean in the context of a divorce.

            The term “no-fault” refers to a Cause of Action.  A Cause of Action is required in all divorce cases and is, basically, the first step to getting one’s foot in the door of the courthouse.  In order to file a Complaint for Divorce, there must be a cause of action.  In New Jersey, there are nine (9) specific Causes of Action, with the most common being Irreconcilable Differences (the no-fault Cause of Action), Adultery, Extreme Cruelty, Separation (a physical separation requiring separate households) for a period of 18 or more months and Desertion (one party abandoning the other for at least 12 months).

            And, although many divorcing couples may have one or more Causes of Action that might be applicable to their situation, the most common one that is used is the no-fault Cause of Action.  Nothing bad or untoward needs to be said about the spouse one is divorcing other than the fact that the parties have experienced Irreconcilable Differences for a period of at least six (6) months or more.

            An Uncontested Divorce is not a Cause of Action but instead refers to the actual status of the case and the issues involved.   If the parties have reached an agreement, either through mediation or negotiations, and have resolved all issues relative to their marriage, such as child custody, support (both spousal and child support), division of assets, business valuations, and any other issue that may be relative to a marriage, then the case is an Uncontested Case.  If the agreement is placed in the form of a Marital Settlement Agreement (preferably prepared and reviewed by an attorney who specializes in divorce and family matters), then the case is truly an Uncontested Case as far as the court is concerned.

            If one has a written agreement with their spouse, it is an Uncontested Case.  However, in order to finalize the matter and get a Judgment of Divorce, a Complaint for Divorce would then be filed using the No-Fault grounds of Irreconcilable Differences.  After filing a few other required documents, the case would be scheduled by the court for an Uncontested Divorce hearing which would lead to the entry of a Judgment of Divorce and the dissolution of the marriage.

            If you have any questions about the two concepts above, if you would like to discuss other Causes of Action for Divorce or even ways in which to resolve undecided issues with your spouse, call the Law Office of Katherine K. Wagner, Esq. and we would be happy to discuss the issues and concepts in greater detail with you. Call 908-526-0099 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Located in Somerville, New Jersey, we serve clients in Somerset County, Somerville, and Hunterdon County.

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