Is an Uncontested Divorce Right for Your Situation?

Whether you and your soon-to-be former spouse agree to amicably part ways or there’s a lengthy court battle ahead of you, divorce can be an emotional rollercoaster. However, it’s essential to understand that there are two types of divorce — contested and uncontested. When spouses can remain civil and reach an agreement regarding the important decisions that must be made during divorce, an uncontested divorce can save a significant amount of time and money.

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce is one in which both sides agree on all the issues that must be decided before a judge will sign the decree. These matters include child custody, child support, spousal support, property division, and debt allocation. Because these issues have already been decided between spouses, there is no need to litigate them in court.                

What Are the Pros of an Uncontested Divorce?

Taking the uncontested route to divorce can help simplify and speed up the process. While a contested divorce can sometimes take years, depending on the complexity of the case, an uncontested divorce can be completed in as little as a few weeks or months. Rather than spend time in litigation, spouses negotiate a settlement outside of court in an uncontested divorce. The settlement agreement is then submitted to the judge who will review it to ensure it is fair before signing it.

An uncontested divorce can allow you to:

  • Keep your divorce private
  • Avoid a lengthy and costly court battle
  • Reduce the level of conflict
  • Help you remain amicable for the benefit of your children
  • Keep your children out of the divorce process
  • Ensure stress is at a minimum
  • Achieve a faster resolution

An uncontested divorce helps spouses remain in control of the outcome, rather than let a judge make determinations that can impact their lives for years to come. Notably, these types of divorce proceedings can also be beneficial when a couple has no minor children and very few assets.      

What Are the Cons of an Uncontested Divorce?    

Despite the benefits of an uncontested divorce, it is not suitable for certain situations. An uncontested divorce is typically not appropriate in cases involving physical, emotional, or financial abuse. It’s also a bad idea when there is an imbalance of power in the relationship since this can lead to one spouse having an unfair advantage over the other. In addition, it’s better to proceed with a contested case if you suspect your spouse may be concealing marital assets — such cases often involve extensive discovery to ensure a fair outcome is achieved.

Significantly, divorce proceedings that are commenced as “uncontested” don’t always remain that way. It’s not uncommon for spouses to think they’re both on the same page, only to later discover that they disagree on an important issue. If spouses cannot cooperate and are unable to move forward with an uncontested divorce, the case may be converted to a contested case and litigated in court.   

Contact an Experienced New York Divorce Attorney

Whether your divorce is uncontested or contested, it’s crucial to have a knowledgeable divorce attorney by your side to protect your rights. The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown LLP has been providing compassionate counsel and aggressive advocacy for divorce and family law matters for more than 70 years. Call (212) 425-1999 to schedule a consultation or contact us now.