A contested divorce is one where the spouses cannot agree on a least one issue in order to conclusively end their marriage. In others words, they are at odds about the terms and conditions of the property division (its assets and liabilities), or alimony or child support or visitation. Ideally, the goal of a lawyer is to negotiate so that the spouses agree to a settlement, and the divorce moves forward as an uncontested action.
An uncontested divorce means that both spouses agree on the terms and conditions, and the couple can end their marriage “conclusively and effectively.”
An uncontested divorce is not necessarily an amicable (or “friendly”) divorce, however. Instead, uncontested agreement means that all disputed items raised between the couple are settled out of court and without the need of any judicial intervention.
The difference between a contested divorce that goes to trial and an uncontested divorce that ends in a settlement is the difference between fighting a war and mobilizing for war – but not fighting. Good lawyers go out of their way to help divorcing clients avoid a court battle.