Divorce is considered a dissolution or termination of marriage by a legal proceeding in the Probate Court. Divorces are generally categorized as contested or uncontested. In a contested divorce, the parties cannot agree on at least one issue, while in an uncontested divorce, the parties agree to all terms. In a contested divorce, the spouse seeking divorce prepares a petition for divorce and files it with the Probate Court, or for uncontested divorces, the parties submit a joint petition for divorce.
Uncontested divorces are often referred to as simple divorces. An uncontested divorce occurs when the couple agrees on all issues required to effectively terminate their marriage, leaving no items of consequence in dispute. This does not necessarily mean the divorce was amicable, however, it does require that all material items of the divorce be settled out of court, and detailed in the separation agreement.
Most couples would benefit from the use of an uncontested divorce due to its speed, simplicity, convenience, privacy, and inexpensiveness. An uncontested divorce can be accomplished in as little as a day, and can be filed and resolved in court as soon as all material terms are agreed upon. This efficiency can benefit divorcing couples significantly, and save them from large attorneys fees.
The contested divorce is one in which the spouses cannot come to agreement on one or more material issues required to effectively terminate their marriage. When spouses cannot come to agreement on even a single issue, they must approach the Probate Court to adjudicate their dispute. Contested divorces are very common, especially since there are so many different material issues to resolve during the course of terminating a marriage.
The most commonly disputed issues requiring court intervention include sensitive topics such as: