There are two separate types of divorce a couple can get when ending their marriage: contested and uncontested.

A contested divorce is one in which the husband and wife cannot come to an agreement on the terms of their divorce. When dissolving a marriage, many overwhelming emotional and legal issues come into play. Level of agreement is the largest distinction that characterizes a contested from an uncontested divorce.

Most of the time, both parties are unable to see eye-to-eye when ending their marriage. Such things that the parties might disagree on are grounds for divorce, child support, custody and visitation, division of assets, alimony, payment of debts, payment of health insurance to the dependent spouse, and many more. In a contested divorce, even with the help of counsel, parties are unable to reach an agreement and seeks to let the court system decide divorce matters and terms.

An uncontested divorce is a much smoother process in which both parties are in agreement on the terms of the divorce, and the court then approves their divorce agreement.

The length of time that it takes for a divorce to be processed can be partially determined by whether it is contested or uncontested. In an uncontested divorce the parties must simply draw up papers that outline their agreement, file the paperwork and wait as long as their state requires for their divorce to become final. In a contested divorce, however, the process is more complex. The parties will be required to go through hearings and compromises until they finally reach an agreement. Depending on the level of disagreement, the process of a contested divorce can be as short as an uncontested divorce or it can take years.

A major dissimilarity between contested and uncontested divorces is the cost. Lawyer fees can be pricy, and the longer the divorce the more expensive the lawyer costs. Because an uncontested divorce is agreed upon by both parties, a lawyer is typically not needed beyond simply taking a look at paperwork before it is filed, and the couple must only pay the court filing fees. Couples facing a contested divorce will see much higher attorney expenses.

The level of complexity for every individual divorce case varies greatly. Parties in a contested divorce are urged to speak with a divorce lawyer who can offer appropriate counsel and ease and shorten the process of the divorce.