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The divorce process is an overall overwhelming process, and it starts with deciding on which divorce option to choose. An uncontested and a contested divorce are two options that are available to you, and it is important that is best for your and your spouse’s situation. Continue reading to learn the difference between the two and how an experienced Bergen County divorce attorney of McNerney & McAuliffe can lead you down the right path.

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce is suitable for you and your spouse if you agree with all the marital issues that need to be finalized in your divorce settlement agreement. These marital issues include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Alimony payments.
  • Child custody.
  • Child support.
  • Property distribution.

If an uncontested divorce is a viable option, then you and your spouse can voluntarily enter an alternative method of divorce, such as the following:

  • Mediation.
  • Arbitration.
  • Collaborative divorce.

Notably, these alternative divorce methods are known to be less expensive, less time-consuming, and overall less emotionally draining than the litigation process.

What is a contested divorce?

A contested divorce is best for you and your spouse if you cannot independently settle your marital issues. With this, you and your spouse may first have to take part in an Early Settlement Panel. Here, you will present your case to a panel of attorneys who can guide you toward a settlement. If not successful, you will have to undergo litigation, where a New Jersey judge will come to a resolution on your and your spouse’s behalf.

Should I cite fault or no-fault grounds in my divorce?

The state of New Jersey is a no-fault state. Meaning, when you and your spouse petition for divorce, you have the option of citing fault or no-fault grounds. For one, fault grounds place blame on one spouse or the other for the breakdown of the marriage. Examples of fault grounds include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Abandonment.
  • Addiction.
  • Adultery.
  • Extreme cruelty.
  • Deviant sexual conduct.
  • Incarceration.
  • Institutionalization.

Or, no-fault grounds state a mutual belief between you and your spouse that you have irreconcilable differences. If you choose this, you and your spouse must be separated for at least 18 months. Citing no-fault grounds is commonly used for an uncontested divorce because there is little to no chance that this will result in other legal issues before the start of your case. Because if there are issues, your divorce can be contested rather quickly.

If you are still unsure of how to navigate your situation, you should retain the services of a skilled Bergen County family law attorney today.


If you require the legal assistance of an attorney to help you through a criminal law matter, personal injury matter, family law matter, or otherwise, contact McNerney & McAuliffe today.

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