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Are “uncontested” and “no-fault” divorces the same thing?

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2023 | Divorce

Divorce can be a complicated process, and it comes with a language all its own. You won’t get far into your divorce before you start hearing about things like “uncontested” and “no-fault” divorces – and it’s easy to start getting them confused.

The more you understand about how the divorce process works and your options, the easier it will be to make informed decisions about your future. With that in mind, here’s what you need to know:

Fault-based vs. no-fault divorces

In the not-so-distant past, it wasn’t possible to simply say “this marriage isn’t working” and get a divorce. Instead, couples had to go before a judge and assert some carefully described defect in the marriage that met the legal “grounds” to grant a divorce.

That list was generally quite small, in every state. In Massachusetts, grounds for divorce include things like adultery, desertion for a full year, addiction, alcoholism, impotence and a lengthy incarceration.

These days, however, it’s much easier to get a divorce. Under the no-fault rules, one spouse needs to merely assert that the marriage has had an irretrievable breakdown with zero chance at reconciliation. This has made divorce a much simpler, less socially damaging process.

Contested vs. uncontested divorces

Whether or not a divorce is contested is not the same as asking whether the divorce is fault-based or no-fault.

An uncontested divorce is merely one where the two parties are able to come to agreements about all the important issues – such as custody of the children and the division of the marital property – without the court’s intervention.

A contested divorce, by comparison, is one where the divorce has to be litigated in court because there is one or more issues that the couple is unable to settle between them.

These days, no-fault, uncontested divorces are quite common – but that doesn’t mean that you can handle a divorce without help. The best way to protect your future is to make sure that you have experienced legal guidance today.