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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Contested Divorce


Term Definition Contested Divorce - an adversarial action where at least one issues in the divorce have not been settled.
Application in Divorce There are two kinds of divorces - contested and uncontested. A contested divorce is one in which the parties cannot agree, either about getting divorced or about the terms of the divorce, such as the division of assets, allocation of debts, alimony, child support, or the custody of children.

In an uncontested divorce, the spouses agree on everything and do not need the court to divide assets or make determinations about spousal or child support or custody. In general, an uncontested divorce proceeds through the system more quickly, is much less complicated, and is less of a financial burden.

Often couples begin the process of a contested divorce and then, before the actual trial, reach agreement. This is called a settlement. One of the biggest advantages of a settlement is that neither spouse will appeal it because both by definition agree to it and thus are presumably satisfied with it. Both parties can therefore be assured of finality and an end to litigation. Agreements must be memorialized in such a way that it makes the settlement legally binding and enforceable.

Most judges and lawyers prefer to settle out of court in an uncontested fashion. When spouses cannot agree to a settlement, typically their lawyers reach one eventually.

See also Uncontested Divorce.

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