What is a contested divorce?

What is a contested divorce?

Couples make many different decisions when they agree to separate their ways. They must agree on issues like child support, custody, visitation rights, alimony, spousal support, etc. 

If a couple successfully agrees on the issues before trial, it will be an uncontested divorce. If the couple does not compromise on one or several matters, it will result in a contested divorce. A contested divorce can become uncontested if the couple decides on an agreement later. 

Contested vs. Uncontested divorce

Contested divorceThe parties have disagreements regarding specific issues and want the court to decide.
Uncontested divorceThe parties have to agree to the trial. 

Couples can have many disagreements during a divorce; some even disagree on divorce. However, a court will not make the couple stay in a marriage if one person is unwilling to continue it.

These days, the “no-fault divorce” has made the process even smoother. If one person is unwilling to continue the marriage, he can file the divorce. The no-fault divorce is grounded based on incompatibility between the couple.

If a couple is willing to come to each other terms, it will be an uncontested divorce. But when a couple disagrees on things like child custody or alimony, they will fight in court. In such cases, the court is the final decision maker.

6 Reasons to file a contested divorce

In a divorce, a couple must agree on many things and choose the negotiation. The family attorneys advise keeping the case out of court and resolving it amicably. 

Keeping the case out of court has many benefits. Divorce cases in courts are expensive and can hinder the fresh start of your life. A contested divorce will result in long-lasting tensions and will create bitterness between the ex-partners. In the case of co-parenting, it’s the last thing a parent would want. 

Here are a few reasons you can file for a contested divorce. 

1. Abandonment

If one spouse abandons the other without any acceptable cause, it is considered a cause of divorce in many countries. However, you must have some proof to prove the desertion of one spouse by the other. The desertion period must be at least two years.

However, in many communities, abandonment is not considered the cause of filing for a divorce.

2. Death presumption

If the spouse is not heard from or seen for seven consecutive years by the people who are usually in contact with them, it is considered a firm ground for divorce. 

3. Cruelty

Cruelty can not only be physical but mental as well. If one partner is afraid for their safety when in relation with the other one, then it’s enough to file for a divorce due to cruelty. 

4. Conversion

A spouse can file a divorce if the spouse is converted to another religion other than the one they were following at the time of marriage.

5. Mental disorder

The partner can seek divorce if their other half is not cooperating in the regular duties due to their mental disorder. 

6. Adultery

A man who commits adultery is in a sexual relationship outside their marriage and will be liable for the criminal offense. The other partner can file for a divorce in court. 

Required documents for a contested divorcee

  • Address proof of husband
  • Address proof of wife
  • Evidence that the couple has been living separately for a year
  • Marriage certificate
  • Profession details and the present payment
  • Evidence to prove the failed attempts of reconciliation
  • Income tax statement for the previous 2 to 3 years
  • Four passport-size photographs of the husband and wife’s marriage
  • Family background information
  • Detail of the assets and property owned by the couple

The Contested Divorce Procedure

Contested divorce procedure

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you understand the process of a contested divorce. Like every marriage, there will be a unique contested marriage process for which you must consult an actual attorney. 

To give you a general idea, we have discussed the typical procedure. 

As the word sounds, a contested divorce is when the couple doesn’t agree to the terms. It makes the divorce proceedings take longer to complete. It also increases the complications and legal fees. 

To finalize the contested divorce, here are the following steps you must go through:

  • Prepare a file stating the grounds for the divorce and deliver them.
  • Respond to the petition.
  • Hire an experienced attorney.
  • Engage in the divorce discovery process that involves extracting information through other people and questions.
  • Pre-trial hearings
  • Settlement proposal between attorneys
  • In case the negotiation fails, you have to be prepared for the trials
  • If you are unsatisfied with the trial judge’s decision, file an appeal.


What is the result of a contested divorce?

The result of the contested divorce depends upon the judge’s decision on all the issues involved. According to state law, marital property is divided, and other problems are resolved. 

How long does a contested divorce take?

In highly complicated cases, a contested divorce can take several months to a year. The discovery process of a contested divorce and the pinning of truth and facts takes the maximum time. 

What is the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce?

A contested divorce means the couple does not agree on issues regarding marriage dissolution. In an uncontested divorce, one party makes the petition, and the other party accepts all the terms and conditions.

What is a contested divorce?

A divorce becomes contested when the spouse disagrees with the marriage dissolution. In such cases, a person can file for a contested divorce to let the court make the final and unbiased decision for them.


During the settlement period, most couples are unable to resolve their issues. Though the lawyers and divorce court may ask them to work things out, the divorce court makes the decision when it doesn’t happen. 

Both spouses present their witnesses during trials, and the lawyers cross-examine them to give a closing argument. Once the trial is complete, the court issues a final order to memorize all the judge’s decisions and finalize the divorce. 

Divorce, especially contested divorce, is a complicated procedure. It’s best to consult an experienced divorce lawyer to get the information regarding the legal rights to ensure their complete protection.

Scroll to Top