Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

The difference between a contested and an uncontested divorce

In Massachusetts, a person can pursue divorce based on fault grounds or on the no-fault basis of an irretrievably broken marriage. If they choose to use the no-fault basis for ending their marriage, their divorce may be uncontested or contested. A person whose spouse agrees that their marriage is broken and who also wishes to file for divorce may be able to use the uncontested no-fault path to divorce, but if their spouse disagrees with the divorce or the terms of the divorce, the divorce may need to be filed as a contested no-fault process.

Uncontested no-fault divorces require a fair amount of work on the part of the participants. That is because they must come up with their own agreements regarding the division of their property, the custody and support of their kids, the payment of alimony (if at all), and all other divorce-related subjects. In some cases individuals may choose to mediate their uncontested no-fault divorces to work out these important issues.

Contested divorces often play out in the courts. That is because the partners to the ending marriage either do not agree that the marriage should end, or they do not agree about how certain divorce-related topics should be resolved. Judicial intervention is needed to bring contested divorces to their ends.

Divorces are never easy, even when the partners agree that their marriages should be terminated and that they will be better off apart. It can always help individuals who are contemplating divorce to talk to family law attorneys who understand the benefits and pitfalls of the various paths to divorce. This post does not advocate for any legal path or action and is provided as information only.

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Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator


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