Just as no two relationships are exactly the same, every divorce is different as well. Each comes with its own financial issues, child custody disputes, and property settlements (not to mention the incredibly personal, emotional toll that is unique to everyone who goes through this challenging process).
Divorce or the dissolution of a marriage can happen in a few different ways and while you might assume the process will definitely take you and your spouse to court, that's not usually the case. In fact, it's estimated that 95% of all divorces in the United States are uncontested as both parties are able to come to terms on issues like child custody, alimony, and the division of marital assets without the interference of the court.
While there are different types of divorce, all are governed by no-fault divorce laws. However, the type of divorce you have is typically determined by how willing you are your spouse are to work together during the divorce process, as opposed to going up to bat in court.
If you're considering or are in the midst of a divorce, keep reading to learn more about four common types of divorce and what each could mean for you and your spouse.
Back in 1970, California was the first state to pass no-fault divorce laws, forever changing the divorce process and making it much easier to end a marriage. Before this, you would have to prove grounds for the divorce which included things like adultery, desertion, and physical or mental cruelty.
Essentially, a no-fault divorce is exactly what it sounds like. In this type of divorce, you and your spouse agree that no one is at fault for the failure of the marriage. The reasons for seeking a divorce may be as simple as incompatibility or irreconcilable differences. There doesn’t have to be any further explanation or proof that the marriage isn't working.
An uncontested divorce takes place when both spouses reach a mutual agreement to end the marriage. They are able to come to an agreement regarding the division of property, any financial issues, child custody, and other contentious issues.
Uncontested divorces are simple and quick but they can cause people to give up rights they did not know they had. This includes things like alimony, the division of retirement benefits, and other sources of income. That's why it's always prudent to at least consult an attorney, even if you and your soon to be ex-spouse are on good terms.
Simplified divorces are uncontested no-fault divorces where there is no conflict between the spouses. Usually, simplified divorce takes place between couples who have been married a short amount of time, who don't have children, and who have few marital assets to bicker over.
State laws differ when it comes to simplified divorce but, if your state allows it, it's usually a more affordable and less stressful way to go. This type of divorce is usually granted quickly—normally within 30 days of filing.
A limited divorce is similar to a legal separation, but it's not allowed in some states. Usually, couples who need to arrange their finances and settle other issues will choose a limited divorce to give them time to figure out the details before the divorce becomes final. As in a legal separation, you and your spouse can't live together or be intimate with each other (or anyone else for that matter) while you go through this type of divorce.