A Quick Explanation of Uncontested Vs. Contested Divorce in California


While divorce laws differ from state to state, divorce is generally divided into two classifications: contested and uncontested. While both forms of divorce include attorneys and time in court, an uncontested divorce tends to be simpler. In order to qualify, you and your spouse will need to see eye-to-eye on some significant problems.

Uncontested Divorce

Generally speaking, when we ask this question, we try to determine whether you and your spouse have discussed some (or all) of the problems that might be involved in your divorce and how far apart you are from each other in those debates. If you and your wife have worked out all the problems before contacting an attorney, such as property division, alimony, and child support, your divorce will most likely be uncontested.

There are several important benefits to an uncontested divorce, including:

  • Reducing lawyers’ charges and court costs 
  • Dissolving your marriage much quicker than litigation 
  • Saving unnecessary anxiety and mental strain for you and your kids
  • Keeping a friendly connection with your former partner

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce usually relates to a scenario where you may not have discussed the problems in your divorce with your spouse or you may not have been able to agree on the terms of the settlement contract. In this instance, your attorney will negotiate the terms of the settlement contract with your spouse or, if necessary, the opposing attorney.

Spouses pursue a contested divorce if they are unable or reluctant to achieve an agreement on one or more of the following problems: 

  • Parenting time and handling of parental duties (frequently referred to as child custody and visitation) 
  • Child support 
  • Spousal support /alimony 
  • Property Division 

Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether a divorce is uncontested in the beginning and what may appear to be uncontested divorce can ultimately become contested in the end. The main issue is not whether you and your wife are able to work various issues out during a divorce, but whether you have accomplished that beforehand.

Contact a Lawyer

To learn more about a contested divorce and uncontested divorce, and to decide which one is right for you, contact us at the Law Offices of Kayleene H. Writer, PLC. We are passionate about helping people while they are going through their difficult family law situations. Give us a call today at (949) 353-6151