Types of Divorce: Contested or Uncontested

Looking to file a divorce in the state of California? The method can be really a confusing mess of laws, procedures, and forms. You can easily get lost while following the several twists and turns of this seemingly endless process. Being a no-fault divorce state, you will not have to prove that there was any misconduct on your spouse’s behalf. You just have to state that you cannot get along with your spouse in marriage and file for a divorce. The court refers to this as “irreconcilable differences.”

However, the irreconcilable differences can be the basis of divorce, but it will certainly not mean that you disagree with the division of assets between you and your spouse. This type of divorce where the couple agrees on how to divide the property is termed as an uncontested divorce and if they disagree on any part of asset division, the divorce is termed as a contested divorce. This disagreement can range from minor ones in small areas to major ones in bigger areas.

Different considerations are taken into account in both types of divorce. A couple who although may agree on most things may not be suitable candidates for an uncontested divorce, and those who disagree on most things may still consider an uncontested divorce. Let us take a look at each of these types below.

Uncontested Divorce

In an uncontested or amicable divorce type, the couple gives a mutual consent on dividing their marital property. This type of divorce is usually the simplest, easiest, and most cost-efficient form of divorce available. But, you must always keep in mind that even in this case, the proceeding of the divorce can be quite complex. It involves many intricate components, which includes:

  • Couple’s income
  • Source of this income
  • The time of marriage
  • Any involvement of children
  • Any kind of hatred or animosity between the couple

In certain cases, you may not be fit for filing an uncontested divorce, even if you and your spouse agree upon everything.

The best candidates for an uncontested divorce

  • Couples having no big assets and no children.
  • Couples who come to term on the division of property.
  • Couples who agree on who is going to have the physical as well as legal custody of the child.
  • Couples who mutually consent on providing a certain amount of spousal support to the child, if any

Not a good candidate for an Uncontested Divorce:

  • Couples who have marriages that had physical or emotional abuse, along with child abuse (in case of a child)
  • When either of the couple is hiding or suspected to hide his/her income or asset.

In such cases, the offending spouse can manipulate the other and forcefully ask him or her to give consent to the agreement. The victim spouse may agree in order to avoid such situations. Therefore it is quite important to be legally protected in such a scenario. You can engage a legal party to get sound legal advice and ensure to protect your interests fully.

Process for filing  an Uncontested Divorce

(A) Prepare your divorce papers and exchange documents

You must file a joint petition with your spouse in order to proceed with an uncontested divorce. The petition must state the following:

  • It must meet the conditions for an uncontested divorce.
  • The email address of you and your spouse.

You and your spouse must also fill and exchange their documents of the property, income, and expense, like:

  • Disclosure declaration
  • Property declaration
  • Tax returns of the past two years
  • Written information about any investments or businesses either of you had when you were together.

(B) File your divorce papers along with settlement agreement

Make sure to get copies of all the documents and settlement agreement before submitting the originals to the court.

You will also have to give two self-addressed, stamped envelopes for you and your spouse. After thoroughly checking the documents and seeing that you meet all the requirements the court will issue a judgment of dissolution. Along with that, your date of divorce will also be issued, which will be six months after the date you filed for divorce.

(C) Receive your final divorce documents

You will not have to attend any court hearings in an uncontested divorce case. You will either receive a judgment of dissolution on filing a petition, or it will be mailed to you within a few days.

Contested Divorce

This type of divorce is the most difficult of all, where the relation between you and your spouse get volatile. You both may disagree on every little aspect, which often extends the length of the proceedings. These disagreement aspects generally include how to distribute marital property, child-rearing duties. It is imperative that you hire an expert attorney to carry out the divorce process smoothly, making the settlement fair and accurate for both of you.

Process for filing  a Contested Divorce

(A) Filing for a contested divorce

Filing for a contested divorce is quite like filing for any standard divorce. You can start the divorce by filing a dissolution of marriage. It would be your responsibility to then serve the petition on your spouse, in person or through emails. Your spouse will then file a response to the petition and the divorce proceeds further.

(B) Discovery stage

During this stage, you and your spouse can obtain information from each other about marital assets, income, custody, and other relevant issues. Written interrogatories, document requests, and depositions are used for this. You or your spouse may request temporary court orders for child custody during this time.

(C) Court trial

During the trial, you and your spouse put on witnesses who will be cross-examined. The judge will listen to both the sides at the trial and finally come up with a decision. The length of time that the judge takes to make a final decision depends on the complexity of your case.



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