It sounds strange to say, but divorce is oversimplified in the media.
Movies and television programs portray it almost solely as a big dramatic event that is chaotic at best. But there are several different types of divorce, and they each apply in different scenarios.
If you and your ex agree on the central foundation of your divorce agreement, then you have a different type of divorce than two people who can’t be in the same room.
What types of divorce are available? It depends on where you live. Here are the most common forms of divorce across the United States.
The contested divorce is the one you’re most familiar with, at least in terms of how it’s portrayed.
A contested divorce is perhaps the most dramatic and drawn out of the types of divorce. In a contested divorce, the couple can’t agree on the two essential divorce issues: child custody and the division of property.
These divorces start in lawyers’ offices, but if the negotiations don’t end peacefully, the divorce must go to trial. As a result, a judge must decide for the couple.
Often, these divorces tend to be the most bitter and expensive because a lawyer is required early – and trials take up a lot of hours.
Contested divorces are often wrought, but despite what Hollywood tells us, they’re not as common as we think. Somewhere around 95 percent of divorces in the U.S. are uncontested.
By comparison, an uncontested divorce is a dream. It means that you and your soon-to-be-ex agree on the essential tenants of the divorce agreement, and you can file the necessary paperwork.
These divorces take less time and far less money. You may or may not need to provide a lawyer. And if you do, they won’t do much more than making sure you fill in your documents correctly.
Summary Divorce/ Simplified Divorce
A summary divorce is also known as a simplified divorce. It’s not available in every state, but when it is, it governs short marriages. When you were only married for a brief period, you are less likely to have substantial community property, joint debt, or even children. As a result, there’s less to negotiate and less paperwork.
If your state offers this, all you need to do is file the correct paperwork with your local family court. A court usually grants your divorce within 30 days, barring any issues with your paperwork.
However, you must note that both parties must agree to the divorce for it to occur. And if there are issues with assets or debts, then you may need an uncontested/contested divorce.
Summary Divorces and Internet Divorces Aren’t the Same Things
Although less prevalent now, there was a time where internet services promised ‘quickie’ divorces. All you needed to do was pay a fee, buy the paperwork, and get divorced.
An internet divorce and a summary divorce aren’t the same things. most internet promises are scams.
Why? No matter what divorce you seek, you must always file your paperwork with your court, per the court’s instructions. Plus, the paperwork is free from your local court, so you never have to pay for it.
Finally, you aren’t legally divorced until you get your divorce decree from the court.
So there’s no such thing as a divorce you can get on the internet.
The bottom line: there are options for simplified divorces in some states. None of them exist on the internet.
A default divorce is available to a spouse who files for divorce but who never receives a response. Either your ex ignores the paperwork, fails to participate, or they take off, and you don’t hear from them.
The default divorce stops you from remaining trapped in a marriage with someone who does not participate in the relationship – in the sense that they disappeared for months or even years.
These divorces are rare as the need is rare, but it’s good to know they are available.
A collaborative divorce is similar to a contested divorce in that you hire lawyers, but you don’t go to trial.
Your lawyers instead work on each of your behalfs to find agreements and ultimately put the case to rest.
Collaborative divorces can become contested divorces. However, you both must hire new representation before you can file a motion to go to trial.
A limited divorce is only allowed in certain states. It offers a similar approach to filing for legal separation.
The process gives you time to figure out your finances and try out custody agreements to see what works best.
Why is this important? Because once your divorce agreement becomes final, you have to go back to court to change it. Doing so is time-consuming and expensive, so it’s good to get it right the first time.
However, you are required to live apart, and you can’t continue your romantic relationship during this period.
This article tells you more about the differences between a limited divorce and legal separation.
There Are Many Types of Divorce
It doesn’t matter who you are: ending a marriage requires thought, consideration, and a lot of paperwork. However, the complications are generally up to you and your soon-to-be-ex.
There are many types of divorce for the many types of couples out there. If you get along, you can file an uncontested or collaborative divorce. If your spouse doesn’t answer your petition, you can still get divorced thanks to default divorce provisions.
After you file, what happens next is up to you.
Did you find our article helpful? Don’t forget to check out my Children and Parenting archive for more on parenting after divorce.