What Are Common Kinds of Divorce?
Updated: Apr 27
Divorce is the legal end of a marriage, but no two divorce cases are similar. Many types of divorces exist, depending on the people divorcing and the laws of that state. Learn more with this review of the most common ways to formally end your marriage.
Contested or Litigated Divorce
In this divorce, the spouses cannot agree on various marital issues, such as property division or child custody. As a result, each spouse will hire a divorce attorney and file a petition in court. The parties may also have to investigate the financial status of the other spouse and present evidence in court. The judge will then review the facts and decide on the contested issues after a trial.
Contested divorces can cost more and take longer than other types of divorces. The divorce may also be stressful, and neither party may end up happy.
An uncontested divorce is a simple and fast way to end a marriage. The couple must accept that their marriage has ended and agree to resolve outstanding issues mutually. In essence, the couple agrees on property division, visitation, child support, and alimony without the intervention of the courts. The couple will then incorporate the terms of their agreement into a document referred to as a separation agreement.
Parties to an uncontested divorce can still hire divorce attorneys to make the entire process easier. The attorneys can then submit the separation agreement for approval by the courts. You can file jointly, or each spouse can file their own separation agreement. The courts usually fast-track uncontested divorces unless the couple has children.
If you have children, the spouses or their divorce attorneys may have to appear in court. You may also have to use mediation to work better together.
A collaborative divorce is where the spouses hire divorce attorneys whose job is to help the couple throughout the divorce process. Both parties also commit to getting a resolution and revealing any relevant information that can help resolve outstanding divorce issues. The parties also agree to attend any necessary meetings and communicate in a gentle and calm manner.
Collaborative divorces will still end the marriage but can help the couple avoid going to court to find an amicable agreement.
Uncontested divorce might seem easy on paper but hard to implement. The couples may disagree on several issues but still desire to have an uncontested divorce. In this case, the divorcing couple will seek alternative dispute resolution methods. Divorce mediation is one of these methods where an objective third party helps the couple to resolve outstanding issues.
The third party is typically an attorney or retired judge who creates communication channels between the couple. The attorney or judge cannot assist either party with direct legal advice. Instead, their job is to expedite the process so that the couple can reach a settlement and get an uncontested divorce.
Fault and No-Fault Divorce
Some states used to require a couple to have legal reasons for ending the marriage. For example, one of the spouses could have cheated. This type of divorce is called at-fault divorce and was common in previous decades. However, all states have enacted laws that allow only no-fault divorce.
No-fault divorce is when neither party has done anything wrong, but the couple can't continue with the marriage. The most common term used to describe no-fault divorce is irreconcilable differences. However, the couple still must resolve various issues and may not agree without the intervention of the court.
With many different types of divorce, you may have difficulties choosing the right option for you. You need an attorney who can ensure your interests are taken care of during the process. Tri Cities Law Group provides experienced legal representation for divorce and other general legal matters. To get started, feel free to contact our law office today.