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The Divorce Encyclopedia
Noncontested Divorce


Term Definition Noncontested Divorce - a marital breakup that is resolved or proceeding by default, which happens when the defendant fails to respond to the issues alleged in the complaint.
Application in Divorce Also called an uncontested divorce.

Sometimes the defendant, who is also called a respondent, fails to reply by agreement, and sometimes he or she fails to reply because he or she is in parts unknown.

In a noncontested divorce, both parties agree to everything, compared to a contested divorce that is adversarial.

A noncontested divorce can be accomplished more easily than applying for a passport (and depending upon the jurisdiction, it may take less time to get a divorce than receive a passport). The spouses part without a trial and don’t even appear in court. The couple complete and file court forms and a marital settlement agreement that stipulates the terms and conditions of property distribution and child support and custody. A judge approves the settlement unless it grossly unfair to one party. If there are no children involved, a couple can agree to divide the marital estate in any way that is legal.

When the divorce is not contested, very often the spouses can negotiate their own settlement, and the involvement of attorneys and professionals is minimal.

After a waiting period that varies from state to state, the divorce is issued.

Uncontested divorces lend themselves to one spouse doing the work pro se, and the other letting everything fall into place.

Sometimes spouses work cooperatively in a noncontested divorce. Sometimes the proceeds by default, when one spouse either intentionally does not respond or have vanished to parts unknown.

See also Summary Divorce; Default Divorce; Fault and No-Fault Divorce.

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