In the US, there is approximately one divorce every 36 seconds.
If you’re currently going through a divorce, trust us when we tell you that you’re not alone. The divorce process can be long, stressful, complicated, and time-consuming. It leaves many people emotionally and financially drained.
Before you jump into your divorce paperwork, it’s important to learn about the different types of divorce out there. Read on to learn about the most common types of divorce.
1. No-Fault Divorce
A no-fault divorce occurs when both parties agree that neither spouse was responsible for the failure of the marriage. For some couples, the reasons for seeking a divorce are as simple as irreconcilable differences or incompatibility.
If you file for a no-fault divorce, you and your ex don’t need to provide any proof or further explanation as to why the marriage isn’t working. California was the first state to approve of no-fault divorce in 1970. Before this, you had to prove that there were grounds for a divorce.
As you can imagine, this led to many messy legal battles that otherwise could have been completely avoided. However, there still are three states that require you to prove fault in a divorce- Arizona, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
Some states also provide a “fault” option in addition to a “no-fault” option. With the “fault” option, one party is saying that the other party is at fault for the divorce.
2. Uncontested Divorce
Another type of divorce to consider is an uncontested divorce. Many people use the terms no-fault and uncontested interchangeably, however, they have slightly different meanings.
With a no-fault divorce, you’re referring to the grounds of the divorce. In an uncontested divorce, you’re referring to the level of agreement you and your spouse reach over the terms of the divorce. This means that someone can have both a no-fault and uncontested divorce.
With this type of divorce, you and your spouse will work together to come up with divorce terms that you both agree on. Once these terms have been agreed upon, you’ll file the necessary paperwork.
If your divorce is uncontested, you may not have to appear in court at all. This is one of the simplest types of divorce, and it requires significantly less time and money.
3. Contested Divorce
If you have uncontested divorces, that means you also have contested divorces. With a contested divorce, couples can’t come to an agreement when it comes to the division of their property and assets as well as child custody.
For this reason, contested divorces are often the messiest type of divorce. If there is any sort of disagreement that neither person will budge on, you’ll need to go through hearings and settlement negotiations to resolve your issues. If you can’t come to an agreement, then a court trial will be necessary.
This means you’ll both need to hire your own lawyers to help with the legal proceedings. Contested divorces typically happen when both spouses have a high net worth, when there’s a lot at stake, or when there are kids involved.
4. Collaborative Divorce
Like contested divorces, collaborative divorces also involve the help of a lawyer. However, collaborative divorces are different in that they don’t involve courtroom trials.
For collaborative divorce to work, both parties need to be fair and cooperative. Both parties must also be willing to meet in person along with their lawyers to talk about a settlement. If you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement, then you’ll both need to let go of your attorneys and hire new attorneys who will take your case to trial.
5. Summary Divorce
Many states offer summary divorces, which are also commonly referred to as simplified divorces. Summary divorces help streamline the process for couples who are likely to cooperate with one another on a settlement.
If you don’t have substantial assets or children together, or you weren’t married for that long, you may want to opt for a summary divorce.
Some states set a limit in regards to the number of assets and debts a couple can have to qualify for a summary divorce. Some states also require that you don’t have any children together or significant real estate property to qualify for a summary divorce.
If everything goes smoothly with your summary divorce, you typically just need to fill out a few forms to complete the process.
6. Mediated Divorce
If you can’t agree on the finer points of your divorce but you want to keep things out of the courtroom, then you may opt for mediation. With a mediated divorce, a neutral third party listens to both sides of each spouse’s story.
But, the mediator doesn’t make any decisions for the couple. Rather, they facilitate communication between the couple so they can come to a mutual agreement.
Arbitration is also for couples who have a few things to figure out with their divorce but don’t want to go to the courtroom. Like mediation, a neutral third party is involved in arbitration to help the couple come to an agreement.
With arbitration though, this third party is always a private judge. In this case, the judge will make a ruling just as they would in a courtroom.
Types of Divorce: Are You Ready to File?
Now that you know about the different types of divorce, it’s time for you to decide which process is right for you and your spouse. Divorce can be messy, but knowing what your options are can make everything go smoother.
Be sure to check back in with our blog for more tips for recently divorced couples.