Should I file for a no-fault divorce or for an uncontested divorce? 

My spouse and I have no children together and own no property together. Should I file for a no-fault divorce or for an uncontested divorce? 

It’s not a question of choosing between “no-fault divorce” and “uncontested divorce”. These two terms are not opposites. 

No-fault divorce means that you don’t have to accuse your spouse of committing some kind of marital fault before you can seek a divorce from your spouse. The reason no-fault divorce is called no-fault divorce is because prior to the creation of no-fault divorce laws, you could not get divorced unless you are able to prove your spouse committed some kind of marital fault during the marriage. And what does “marital fault” mean? Marital fault includes things like adultery, desertion and abandonment, physical abuse, extreme mental and emotional cruelty, habitual drunkenness or impairment from the abuse of other substances, conviction of a serious crime or incarceration, failure to provide one spouse with the necessities of life, and insanity. 

Back in the late 60s, various governments in the United States realized that there are many miserable marriages that could and should end in divorce but that did not qualify under any of the fault bases for divorce. That is what led to the creation of no-fault divorce, by which one can obtain a divorce simply by asserting that there are irreconcilable differences between spouses that render the marriage irretrievably broken prevent the marriage from continuing. 

An uncontested divorce is a divorce in which all of the issues in in the divorce action, including child custody and visitation (parent time), division of marital assets and responsibility for marital debts, etc. are resolved by the agreement of the parties through settlement as opposed to litigating those issues and having the matter decided by a judge after a trial. 

So if you and your spouse both agree that you don’t want to stay married and believe that you can agree to resolve all of the issues in your divorce without needing to fight with each other and litigate at trial, you can drop a settlement agreement and base your divorce upon the terms of your settlement agreement, without having to go to trial and have the judge determine the outcome. 

No-fault divorces can be uncontested divorces. That stated, not all no-fault divorces are uncontested, as one can file for divorce on a no-fault basis, but may still find himself or herself arguing with his or her spouse over various issues that will end up decided by a judge, if the parties cannot settle those issues by agreement between themselves. 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277  

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