Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
The first choice is whether to have an uncontested or contested divorce in New Jersey. While it seems that most couples will choose a mutually respectful, uncontested divorce over a protracted court battle, you may have a spouse who refuses to negotiate with you or compromise on any issue. In that case, you may have no other choice but to take the matter to court.
In a contested divorce, your respective lawyers present your adversarial positions to a judge, who imposes legally binding decisions about how to divide up your property, money, alimony and make decisions regarding custody and visitation. This approach can damage personal relationships and costs money and provide little in privacy, but it will ultimately end your marriage.
It should come as no surprise that the majority of couples choose to avoid divorce court whenever possible. With an uncontested divorce, you can find mutual agreement on every issue. Therefore, little court involvement is required, and the resolution usually is quick, and at times, court appearance may not be required.
In uncontested divorces, you have less costly and contentious out-of-court dispute resolution options that include the following:
- Mediation: A qualified, neutral person facilitates negotiations between divorcing spouses to help them arrive at their own agreement on how to settle their divorce.
- Collaborative law: Each party retains a lawyer who advocates their interests and negotiates an agreement.
- Binding arbitration: The parties present their case to an independent decision maker who makes legally binding decisions about disputed issues.
These methods only require the courts to finalize the agreements. But regardless of which strategy you choose, make no mistake that you will each have to give up something you want to have an amicable, out-of-court divorce.
Experts say this mature, responsible, and respectful approach pays dividends by preserving the health and well-being of your family long after your divorce is final. Our representation of every divorce matter takes into consideration the impact of contested divorces and the damaging affect it may have on the parties, and strives for the best resolution in the interest of our clients.