Potential divorce clients frequently ask us, “What is the difference between an uncontested divorce and a no fault divorce?” Because we get this question so often and it is such a good one, we wanted to take a moment and address it with this blog post.
The simple answer is that “no fault divorce” refers specifically to a state law’s application of “fault” (i.e. the reasons for the divorce) and whether it impacts the outcome of the divorce proceedings. Years ago divorce laws in most states required one spouse to establish fault with the other spouse as part of the divorce. For example, alleging adultery or abandonment as reasons for the divorce. Typically the other spouse would then allege something similar, thus requiring a judge to determine the extent to which fault would impact the division of property and support.
This requirement of a finding of fault created an inherently adversarial divorce process pitting one party against the other. Although divorce proceedings can be adversarial, requiring additional mudslinging in an already emotional process did not serve parties or court systems efficiently. As a result in the early 1970’s states began to pass “no fault divorce laws” and today all 50 states have some form of no fault laws or no fault options on the books for divorce.
With that mouthful out of the way, what’s an uncontested divorce? Uncontested divorce means that both spouses have reached an agreement on all aspects of the divorce. This means they agree on the division of assets, terms of the parenting plan and support arrangements. The plan is presented to the court for approval and at Split Simple we guarantee approval of all paperwork by the Court.
An uncontested divorce with Split Simple may start with great conflict and little agreement on the issues, but our experience and proven process helps divorcing couples to focus on solutions and reach an agreement for an uncontested divorce. By contrast, in a contested divorce the parties can’t agree on the relevant issues and therefore the Court must decide. It’s our opinion that relinquishing these decisions about your life and your family to the courts is matter of last resort. Parties have lost all control of the outcome if they let a judge rule on their future.
Our proven process, is designed to result in an uncontested divorce. Most of our clients don’t start the process without meaningful disagreements, but by the end of the mediation both spouses are in agreement that their uncontested divorce is fair, in the best in interest of all parties, and the best result given the circumstances. Our process minimizes expense and stress. We focus on how to move forward and find solutions, not in re-living the reasons for the divorce. Interested in hearing more about our unique approach? Give us a call?