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The difference between a contested and an uncontested divorce
July 23, 2014
There are plenty of questions and misconceptions out there about divorce law. One question that has been asked to me by a client is, “Can I get a divorce if my spouse does not agree to the divorce?” The answer is YES.
Generally speaking, an uncontested divorce is one where both spouses agree on every issue, including the choice to permanently dissolve their marriage and receive a divorce decree. If both spouses consent to a divorce, they can receive their divorce decree in about 90 days or so from the date the divorce complaint was filed.
However, if one spouse does not agree to be divorced, either because they still believe that the marriage can survive or because they just want to be difficult, a spouse may have to wait up to 2 years to receive a divorce decree. As long as both spouses remain separated during this 2 year period, the spouse will eventually receive the divorce he or she is seeking.
There is a middle area to this as well. There are many cases where both spouses agree that they should no longer be married, but they disagree on the child custody arrangements or who should continue to own and live in the marital home. In these cases, the court can bifurcate (separate) the divorce action from the other issues. So, you can receive your divorce decree, but other issues will continue to be negotiated and potentially litigated.
I hope that answered some of your questions about divorce. As always, contact me if you want to talk about your specific situation.