What is the Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce?

by | Dec 31, 2021 | Divorce

We’ve all heard of divorce but most of us are unfamiliar with the different kinds of divorce. And for good reason. Even though all divorces in California are considered “no-fault,” there is not much else during the divorce process that is so simple. Depending on the intent of the parties, you could go through a relatively simple uncontested process or a drawn-out contested process or vise versa. This blog post covers what is considered uncontested and contested divorce.

Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce essentially means that both parties agree to all divorce terms and do not litigate issues not agreed upon. There are several ways parties can file for an uncontested divorce. They can either go through a default action with or without an agreement or a dissolution action with a written agreement. A default action occurs when the respondent does not file a response. The petitioner is given 30 days after serving the moving papers on the respondent with no response to file their proposed judgment. If the respondent does respond within the 30 days and both parties have a written agreement, they may file the proposed judgment with other forms.

Contested Divorce
When a divorce is contested, this means that both parties disagree about terms of the divorce. The beginning stages of filing are very similar to an uncontested divorce, but both parties will then go through a complex series of steps that allow both of them to be heard on the issues they disagree on. The contested process can be a relatively short process or it can be long and drawn-out, depending on the disagreements. Along the way, you can expect to see temporary orders by the court, case management conferences, a discovery process, and even trial.

Why You Should Hire An Attorney
To make sure your rights are protected and your assets are being handled well, it is a good idea to contact an attorney to help you with your uncontested or contested dissolution action. Contact our experienced family law attorneys to help you today!