What is the Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce?
There are two main types of divorce in New Jersey: contested divorce and uncontested divorce. Though they largely cover most of the same issues, the process for each is significantly different. Please continue reading and reach out to the Law Offices of Katherine K. Wagner to learn more about the differences between contested and uncontested divorce.
When both spouses cannot come to an agreement on their marital issues, they are in what is known as a contested divorce. When this happens, a judge will have to resolve the couple’s disagreements, including decisions regarding child support, custody, divisions of assets, and alimony.
When no-fault grounds are cited in a contested divorce, neither spouse holds the other responsible for the end of their marriage and the divorce proceedings may begin. However, when a spouse cites fault grounds, they are holding the other spouse responsible for their divorce. Some of the examples spouses will use when citing fault grounds include the following:
- Abusive treatment
- Incarceration for over 5 years
If both parties can agree on all issues relative to their marriage, they are in an uncontested divorce. As long as both spouses can agree on the following issues, their divorce should proceed as uncontested:
- Child support
- Child custody
- Parenting time
- Property distribution
With the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney, you will draft your divorce agreement. With a comprehensive, signed agreement and at least one party meeting the jurisdictional requirements, a Complaint for Divorce can be filed. The defendant will then be served with a copy of the Complaint. The defendant will have 35 days to file an Answer to the Complaint. To expedite the process, the defendant can sign an Acknowledgement of Service and Consent to Entry of Judgment. Once this has been filed with the court or the 35 days have expired, the court will set the matter down for an uncontested hearing.
At the hearing, the judge will take testimony from the plaintiff regarding the jurisdictional requirements.
The judge will determine the following:
- The agreement was entered into freely and voluntarily
- It was not signed under duress or coercion
- Under all of the circumstances of the marriage, the plaintiff believes the terms to be fair and equitable
- The plaintiff intends to abide by the terms of the agreement
The final steps in this process will include the judge signing a Judgment of Divorce and attaching the agreement. The divorce will then be final.
Contact the Law Offices of Katherine K. Wagner
Do not face complex divorce and family law matters alone. With over 25 years of experience, the Law Offices of Katherine K. Wagner is dedicated to providing you with the knowledge and skill your case deserves. We will fight to protect your rights, your financial security, and your children. Contact the Law Offices of Katherine K. Wagner today for a consultation.