An uncontested divorce arises when both parties agree that they want to enter into a divorce action and mutually agree on most relevant issues such as finances, distribution of property, child custody, disbursement of retirement accounts, payment of debts and the like. In this type of action, each party can be represented by their own attorney or one or both parties can represent themselves. It is best if at least one party is represented by an attorney so that the legal documents will be properly drafted. The attorney(s) will draft a settlement agreement and all forms necessary to submit to the court (in order to obtain a final Judgment of Divorce). There are few, if any, court appearances before a judge.
In sharp contrast, a contested divorce arises when the parties cannot agree on issues pertaining to their divorce, including but not limited to, grounds for divorce, custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, property distribution and the like. A contested divorce action can be more costly than an uncontested divorce and usually requires many court appearances before a judge.