Choosing an uncontested divorce instead of litigation

An uncontested divorce can be an attractive alternative to litigation. Mediation is known for costing less and reducing conflict.

There is a chance that some unhappily married couples in New Jersey and elsewhere remain married because the thought of an expensive, lengthy court battle is overwhelming. Not everyone knows that there are other options to getting a divorce than going to court. Amicable divorces - also known as uncontested divorces - are becoming more common.

What are the benefits of an uncontested divorce?

Amicable divorce methods like mediation are known for having several advantages over litigation. The most attractive of these may be the fact that mediation tends to cost much less than going to court, states the American Bar Association. Court proceedings are public, but mediation sessions are conducted in private. When ending a marriage, many couples would prefer that their property division and child custody issues are not a matter of public record. Negotiating disputes with a mediator and working out solutions that both spouses can agree on may significantly reduce conflict, which is particularly beneficial if children are involved. Also, this can teach each spouse communicating and compromising skills that they can use in their future dealings with each other.

How does mediation work?

Divorcing spouses work with a mediator or attorney with mediation experience. This person must remain neutral, but can make suggestions to assist the couple in finding solutions to their disputes. It is possible for the entire mediation process to be over in one session, although four to six sessions, and sometimes more, is more common.

In addition to mediation, there are other uncontested options for a divorce. Collaborative law, according to U.S. News and World Report, involves each spouse having his and her own attorney. They may also consult with other professionals, such as child therapists and financial advisors. Each party agrees not to litigate, or they will need to find new attorneys. This may give couples with complex disputes an incentive to cooperate with each other and find solutions outside of court.

The couple may also decide to work through their disputes on their own, and then present their plan to their attorneys to make sure everything is in their best interests before finalizing the divorce.

Is an uncontested divorce ever a bad idea?

Despite the benefits of amicable divorce, there are some instances in which it may be better to bring the matter before a judge. These include the following:

  • Domestic violence, alcoholism or drug abuse being factors in the marriage
  • Either spouse being unable to treat each other civilly or agree on solutions
  • One spouse being at a financial disadvantage or feeling intimidated by the other

Each divorce is unique, so it may be advisable to speak with an experienced family law attorney in Newton before choosing mediation or another uncontested option. An attorney should be able to suggest the most favorable way to proceed.