Uncontested? No-fault? What does it mean? | uncontested versus contested

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Uncontested? No-fault? What does it mean?

There are two basic categories of divorces in New York:

  1. Uncontested, or
  2. Contested

In an uncontested divorce, all the following issues have been resolved and are agreed upon by the parties :

  • Equitable distribution of real property,
  • Equitable distribution of personal property,
  • Child custody and visitation,
  • Child Support, and
  • Spousal Maintenance.

In a contested divorce, one or more of those issues have not been agreed upon, and it means that a court will likely intervene and either urge the parties to reach a compromise. Otherwise, there will be a trial to decide the unresolved issues.

In an uncontested divorce, the parties can avoid court appearances, hearings on issues, a trial, and all the other unpleasantness that goes along with litigation (litigation = fighting in court).

So, again, every single divorce can either be categorized as contested (when you disagree on some issues), or uncontested (when you agree on everything).

What is a “no-fault divorce?"

Whether you are going to have a contested or uncontested divorce, you still need to tell the court why you are getting divorced. In New York State, there are seven reasons to seek a divorce:

  1. Cruel and inhuman treatment by your spouse to the degree that it is unsafe or improper to continue living together.
  2. Abandonment by your spouse for a period of one year or more.
  3. If your spouse is incarcerated for three or more years consecutively after you are married.
  4. If your spouse has a sexual affair with another person (adultery).
  5. If you and your spouse live separately for a year or more pursuant to a judgment of separation.
  6. If you and your spouse live separately for a year or more pursuant to a valid written separation agreement.
  7. If the marriage has been irretrievably broken for a period of six months or longer. This reason is only valid if the divorce is uncontested. (This is the “no-fault” law.)

So, for example, your divorce may be contested and based on the reason that you have been abandoned by your spouse. Or your divorce may be uncontested and based on the reason that your spouse has been incarcerated for three years straight. There are a lot of combinations. However, if you agree on everything pertaining to the terms of your divorce, and if you don’t want to spend time and money blaming your spouse for doing anything wrong, you can have an ‘uncontested, no-fault divorce.’

Whether you and your spouse agree on everything, or if you have a spouse who does not want to get divorced and is dragging out the process, contact us to schedule a meeting.  We can help you. We charge a flat rate for initial consultations so that we can meet, discuss your case, and talk about a strategy. (585) 485-0025

The Militello Law Firm
2480 Browncroft Boulevard
Rochester, New York 14625
Phone: (585) 485-0025 Fax: (585) 286-3128