An “uncontested” divorce is one in which both spouses agree on all aspects of the divorce, or when the defendant spouse does not “appear” in the Action for Divorce by serving an appropriate legal response to the Summons or Summons and Complaint served upon him or her. An “uncontested” divorce can be finalized without any personal appearances in Court. This is a relatively inexpensive process.
A “contested” divorce occurs when there are disputes between the spouses which they are unable to resolve, such as the grounds for divorce, property division, child custody and/or support. If the spouses are unable to reach an agreement as to all issues, a Justice of the Supreme Court will decide the issues after a Trial. A Trial requires testimony of the spouses and their witnesses, including expert witnesses, appropriate documentary proof submitted in evidence, and the expenditures of time, attorneys’ fees and court costs. Nevertheless, even when a divorce starts out as “contested,” spouses often reach a settlement before Trial, avoiding the expenses and uncertainty of a Trial.