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Contested vs Uncontested Divorce: What is the Difference?

pink boxing gloves to symbolize contested vs uncontested divorce

Divorce is a difficult time for everyone involved. It is no surprise that even in situations where the parties are cordial, conflict can occur.

There is really only one type of divorce, but we can separate it out into two different categories; contested divorce cases vs. uncontested divorce cases. We will go over what the difference is and how you can prepare for either instance.

Through the divorce process, there are situations that will cause divisiveness and others that will be easily agreed upon. Because each divorce is unique, an experienced divorce attorney can help you determine if you should pursue a contested divorce or if an uncontested divorce is best.

Two Types of Divorce


Both individuals in the relationship agree to divorce and the division of assets, child custody, etc. All major aspects of divorce are already agreed upon.


More complicated due to one or both parties disagreeing about certain issues like child custody, child support, property division, alimony, etc.

Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce

  • Saves time
  • Reduced costs
  • Less conflict
  • Possibility of no court appearances

When is an Uncontested Divorce Optimal?

Situations that are best for an uncontested divorce are when the couples do not have major assets or children that are minors, and can individually support themselves. The majority of divorces in North Carolina are usually completed this way.

When to Choose a Contested Divorce

Even uncontested divorces can become difficult and many couples find that their situation has become more contested than not. Because communication can break down during divorce, successful negotiation may prove difficult. Unless you and your spouse can agree on the big issues that each of you face, then an uncontested divorce may not be the best option for you.

Contested Divorce

One or both sides are in dispute over one or more major issues that must be addressed before the divorce is finalized. This type of divorce can become expensive and arduous before being completed. More steps are required to complete a contested divorce and therefore, naturally cost more. In these cases, it is important to work with a trustworthy contested divorce lawyer to make sure your wishes being represented.

A contested divorce may require:

  1. Preparation, filing, and serving divorce paperwork
  2. Hiring an attorney
  3. Information gathering or “divorce discovery”
  4. Hearings and motions prior to trial
  5. Proposals and negotiation for settlement
  6. Preparation for trial if a settlement cannot be reached
  7. Court trial
  8. Appeal if necessary

Divorce Settlement

Even contested divorces can achieve a positive outcome before trial. Many times divorcing couples begin their divorce in a contested situation, but find they can actually agree to a variety of conditions. This helps to avoid a trial and speed up the litigation process. A divorce settlement can often be beneficial to both parties.

Reasons to settle:

  • No need for appeal
  • Assurance of finality
  • Legally binding and enforceable

Work Towards an Agreement

As a Raleigh divorce law firm, we understand the emotions that divorce can bring about in couples. That is why we recommend contacting a divorce attorney who is experienced in negotiating an outcome that benefits you without increasing hostility. Most often couples fail to resolve their issues effectively and still need legal counsel to help them navigate the divorce process. There are many complex issues that a divorce attorney can help you overcome while speeding up your divorce.

Schedule Your Consultation with a Raleigh Divorce Lawyer

At the Doyle Law Group, P.A., we understand how to represent our clients without causing escalation to their contested or uncontested divorce. Our goal is to represent you in the best way possible by avoiding conflict, but by standing by you and using aggressive tactics when and if necessary.

Call our office at 919-301-8843 or by completing the online contact form below.

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