Legal Lingo: Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce in California


Legal Lingo

If you and your spouse are in the midst of a divorce, and one of you doesn’t agree with what the other is asking for, you both may be involved in a contested divorce.

The key word is “may.” In this entry, we’ll examine the differences between contested and uncontested divorces as it relates to California law.

What is an uncontested divorce?

If you and your spouse have been able to reach an agreement that requires no intervention by the court, the divorce is uncontested.

There is a host of issues that divorcing couples consider, including:

  • Division of the marital assets, as well as, the debt
  • Child custody and support
  • Alimony or spousal support

What is a contested divorce?

Simply failing to reach an agreement does not necessarily make your divorce a contested one. In fact, here in California, either of you can decide to divorce against the strong opposition of the other without it being ruled a contested divorce.

The key is filing a response with the court. For a divorce to be fully considered contested, both spouses will need to have filed their own responses with the court, basing their disagreements on the details of the divorce.

What are the options for working toward a divorce settlement?

If you do not want to leave disagreements to be settled by the court, there are several options that can help you and your spouse reach a settlement.

  • Settlement conferences, offered by some courts, allows both spouses to negotiate with both of their attorneys present.
  • Mediation offered free by some courts, is a way for both spouses to negotiate with a neutral and trained. professional.

What happens if we agree on most issues but not all?

It’s not unusual for both spouses to agree on most issues except for a few. In this case, you can ask for a separate trial or a “bifurcation” to focus only on those issues. This is especially helpful for resolving the differences quickly and finalizing the divorce.

Take the Worry Out of Negotiation by Calling The Men’s Legal Center

Often times both spouses are emotionally exhausted if and when the marriage dissolves. A skilled lawyer can remove any worry from your mind by examining your situation and helping you decide how best to proceed.

To better position yourself for the best possible outcome, contact us here at The Men’s Legal Center. Our number is (619) 234-3838.

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