Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce: What You Can Expect

When you and your spouse decide to file for divorce, you will have to go through one of two divorce procedures: a contested or an uncontested divorce. This decision must be made by you and your spouse, and will be a huge factor in determining how your case plays out over time.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is a case in which both spouses can cooperate and work together to come to an agreement on all issues surrounding the separation, including child custody, division of assets, alimony payments, and more. As you can imagine, an uncontested divorce is far less stressful and expensive, as it avoids time-consuming courtroom litigation, costly legal fees, and the overall divorce price. These cases proceed through the system much quicker as well, since there are no hang-ups caused by disagreements.

The other major benefit to an uncontested divorce is that couples wishing to pursue one will often work harder to come to an agreement they are both satisfied with, meaning there is less of a chance that the agreement will later need to be modified. An uncontested case also usually results in both spouses being happier after their case has been closed, as both of them usually feel as though their agreement was fair and manageable.

Contested Divorce

If spouses cannot come to an agreement on one or all issues, then the divorce becomes contested and litigation and negotiation processes must be pursued. In a contested divorce, some or all of the issues must be decided in court, requiring appearances before a family law judge who will make decisions based on hearing arguments. This leads to a large amount of stress, emotionally-charged battles, and major financial drains in lawyer and court fees. However, the big advantage is this will ultimately decide the terms of your divorce when both spouses cannot come to an agreement, regardless of how they feel after the fact.


Just because your divorce starts as a contested case does not mean that you are in for a long haul of legal battles and stressful negotiation. In many cases couples will come to an agreement on the final terms of their divorce outside of the courtroom with the assistance of their lawyers. This resolution is called a settlement, and like uncontested divorces, divorce settlements usually are not appealed and lead to greater happiness with the end result after the case has been closed.

If you need assistance with your divorce case, call the skilled San Diego family law lawyers at Fair Cadora, APC. Our legal team handles each case with the utmost discretion and professionalism, placing the needs and best interests of our clients and their families first when handling any issue. Our experienced and highly-regarded team can provide you with top-rated representation services in litigation or negotiation sessions, allowing you to relax and know that your future is in capable and dedicated hands.

Call Fair Cadora today to schedule a free initial consultation and let our team assist you with your divorce case.