When people think of divorce, many usually envision a nasty battle in court over every last stick of property—even the ugly wedding china no one really wants. However, what they may not know is that approximately 90% of divorces are uncontested. What this means is that the parties involved are able to settle their differences without even going to trial.
In an uncontested divorce, the spouses reach mutual agreement on relevant issues like alimony, child custody, child support, and asset division. The court doesn’t get involved because the two parties manage to settle all their issues without litigation. Because of this, uncontested divorces usually save significant time and money compared to contested divorces.
By contrast, two spouses go through a contested divorce process (http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/overview-of-litigated-divorce) when they’re unable to reach an agreement on issues even after trying alternatives like mediation. When this happens, the divorce case then goes before the court where the judge (or jury) makes the final call on each issue. Whereas having an attorney isn’t always necessary for an uncontested divorce, getting an attorney for a contested divorce is probably a prudent measure. This is because the issues involved are usually complex and may involve navigation of technical legal procedures. In general, contested divorces tend to be much more stressful, take much longer to complete, and also cost more due to attorney fees.