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Uncontested VS Contested

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Filing for divorce can be overwhelming and filled with uncertainty. Knowing what to expect can help ease some concerns and help parties to a divorce gain a better understanding of how the type of divorce being filed will affect the timeline and length of the case.

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Contested and Uncontested Divorce in New York

Navigating a divorce can certainly be a difficult journey for spouses. Spouses must make important decisions such as who gets what, child custody, alimony, and more. Making these decisions on top of dealing with an ending marriage can feel a bit discouraging. For this reason, we’re going to discuss two types of divorce in New York that spouses should know: uncontested and contested divorce. While both types can help spouses successfully end their marriage, both divorce types have different processes and guidelines. Read on to learn an overview of what these two types of divorce are and what the process entails.

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Uncontested Divorce

Before filing an uncontested divorce in New York, you and your spouse will need to meet a few requirements. Here are the following requirements that spouses must meet.

An uncontested divorce means that both spouses have agreed to end the marriage and also agree on all key terms pertaining to the divorce. However, it’s important to note that in the state of New York, you and your spouse must agree on the reasons for the divorce.

An uncontested divorce process is beneficial for both parties since it provides a simple and amicable way to end the marriage. Essentially, since you and your spouse agree upon everything, there’s no need for a lengthy trial, which can be costly.


Uncontested Divorce Process

In general, the uncontested divorce process is relatively short, which is one of the reasons why it is a preferred method for spouses. However, it can still be a long process depending on the situation. With that said, the best way to improve the likelihood of a quicker divorce is ensuring that all the appropriate documents are filed and accurate.

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Contested Divorce

A contested divorce refers to the process in which both parties want a divorce but do not agree on some or all aspects of the divorce. In the event that the spouses file a contested divorce, a judge will be required to step in and hold a trial. The trial will consist of the judge listening to witness testimony and making a decision regarding who “wins” or “loses” the case.

Contested Divorce Process

It’s important to note that a contested divorce will take a considerably longer time and cost more money compared to an uncontested divorce. This is due to the need for court intervention. 

With that said, a contested court case begins when one spouse files a divorce action with the court. The filing spouse will then have 120 days to serve the other spouse. The spouse that was served will have 20 days to respond to the divorce action. 

A standard case is expected to resolve within 12 months from the filing. However, it’s important to note that some cases are more complex and can take longer than 12 months to be completed. 

During the 12-month period, the spouses will be expected to attend court conferences that are set by the court. During these conferences, the court will issue orders for important matters such as temporary support and child custody.