Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce in New York

There are two main types of divorce in New York: contested divorce and an uncontested divorce. A contested divorce means both spouses cannot agree on one or more divorce-related issues (e.g., child custody, child support, property division, alimony, etc.) in their case, while an uncontested divorce means that the couple agrees on all divorce terms. 

The following blog post is an overview of each type of divorce. 

Uncontested Divorce 

In general, an uncontested divorce is a cheaper, quicker, and less complicated process compared to a contested divorce because spouses can end their marriage without back-and-forth negotiations, court hearings, and other additional legal steps. 

Couples can reach a final divorce agreement on their own, with the help of an experienced divorce attorney to draft the settlement agreement, or with the help of a mediator, who is an unbiased third party (e.g., lawyer, counselor, therapist, etc.) that facilitates a conversation between the spouses in order to resolve any outstanding divorce matters. Once the spouses finalize their written settlement agreement, they may present it to a judge for approval. 

Contested Divorce 

Since a contested divorce involves one or both spouses disputing some aspect of their divorce, the proceedings take much longer, are associated with more legal fees, and involve greater stress in comparison to an uncontested divorce. 

The following are some of the steps involved in a contested divorce in New York: 

  • Draft, file, and serve the petition 

  • Respond to the petition 

  • Hire a lawyer 

  • Participate in “discovery,” which means gathering information from your spouse and other third parties 

  • Pre-trial hearings and legal motions 

  • Settlement negotiations and proposals 

  • If unable to reach settlement, prepare for trial 

  • A judge will decide on the divorce at trial 

  • If one spouse disagrees with the trial judge’s decision, then he/she may file an appeal 

Remember, spouses involved in a contested divorce may still participate in mediation in order to reach a mutual settlement. However, couples who cannot resolve their differences must proceed to trial and leave the decision up to a judge. 

Whether you are involved in a contested or uncontested divorce in Brooklyn, you need a skilled and knowledgeable attorney on your side to obtain the most favorable outcome. Contact Arnel Law Firm today at (718) 550-3024 for a free consultation.