Different Types of Divorce

By: Kevin JensenJune 7, 2024 -
Different types of divorce

Nobody enters into a marriage assuming they will get divorced. However, it does happen, and there are multiple reasons for divorce.

As a result, there are multiple types of divorce and each type has its procedures, requirements, and potential challenges. Knowing what to expect can seriously impact how smoothly the process goes and influence the outcome.

When considering a divorce, it's important to understand which type best fits your situation. This decision can affect everything, from how long your divorce might take to how much it will cost. In addition, the type of divorce can influence child custody and child support.

At Genesis Family Law & Divorce Lawyers, we can help you go through a legal separation or divorce. Learn more about a divorce petition below. Then, contact us to discuss your separation agreement or litigated divorce.

Overview of Divorce

Divorce is a legal procedure that dissolves a marriage between two individuals. It legally separates their lives and divides their assets, debts, and responsibilities. The process varies widely based on the couple's situation, including whether they agree on the terms of the separation.

It often involves an initial divorce complaint before negotiations begin. Child support is a common issue that must be resolved.

The divorce process can be straightforward or complex, quick or prolonged, depending on factors like cooperation between spouses, the presence of children, and the amount of shared assets and debts.

It's important to approach this process with a clear understanding of the legal implications and with the support of a competent divorce attorney. Count on us to help you with your divorce judgment or negotiation.

Common Reasons for Divorce

  • Irreconcilable differences. This reason is often cited in no-fault divorce cases. It means that the spouses have fundamental disagreements that can't be resolved, which could result in a default divorce.
  • Adultery. One of the more common grounds for fault divorce. This occurs when one spouse has sexual relations outside the marriage, leading to a breakdown in the marital relationship.
  • Abandonment. If one spouse leaves the other without support and reason for an extended period, it can be grounds for divorce.
  • Abuse. Physical, emotional, or mental abuse within the marriage is a serious reason that many seek to end their marriage, often necessitating a protective and swift legal response.
  • Financial issues. Disagreements over finances and the stress from financial instability can strain a marriage to the point of divorce.

Uncontested Divorce

Uncontested divorce

An uncontested divorce occurs when both spouses agree on all major issues of the divorce, including asset division, debt responsibility, child custody, and support. This type of divorce is typically quicker and less expensive than other types because it involves fewer legal battles.

Uncontested divorces can be less stressful for both parties and any children involved. They allow couples to end their marriage respectfully and privately without lengthy court proceedings. It also helps preserve a better post-divorce relationship, which can be particularly beneficial if children are involved.

Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce

  • Cost-effectiveness. Less time in court means fewer attorney fees and lower court costs.
  • Speed. The process can move much faster since there is no need to litigate disputed issues.
  • Privacy. Less information is made public because fewer details are debated in open court.
  • Less stress. Reducing conflict and avoiding contentious court battles helps lower stress for everyone involved.
  • Control. Couples have more control over their agreement and outcome than if they left decisions to a judge.
  • Simplicity. The paperwork and process are generally simpler, with fewer filings and legal complexities.
  • Amicability. Promotes a cooperative approach to ending a marriage, which can be especially important for co-parenting relationships.

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce occurs when spouses cannot agree on one or more key facets of their divorce. Some of the most common examples include child custody, division of assets, or spousal support. This type of divorce usually requires more intensive legal intervention.

Contested divorces often involve a trial where each spouse presents their case, and a judge makes the final decisions. These divorces can be lengthy, expensive, and publicly stressful, as personal details are discussed in court.

Common Issues in Contested Divorces

  • Child custody. Determining who the children will live with and the other parent's visitation rights can lead to disputes. Child custody can be a complex issue.
  • Asset division. Disagreements over how to divide property, investments, and other financial assets can complicate divorces.
  • Spousal support. Issues arise when deciding whether one spouse needs to provide financial support to the other and, if so, how much and for how long.
  • Debt division. Couples often disagree on who should be responsible for marital debts incurred during the marriage.
  • Legal fees. Who pays for divorce can become contentious, especially in a prolonged court battle.
  • Business division. Dividing a business owned by both spouses can be complex and contentious.
  • Retirement benefits. Determining how to split retirement accounts without causing serious penalties or losses often requires careful negotiation.

At-Fault Divorce

At fault divorce

In an at-fault divorce, one spouse is accused of doing something that justifies the divorce. These grounds might include adultery, abandonment, or abuse. This type of divorce can be more contentious as it involves proving one spouse's misconduct.

Grounds for At-Fault Divorce

Common grounds for at-fault divorce include:

  • Adultery is when one spouse has had sexual relations outside the marriage.
  • Physical or mental cruelty, where one spouse's behavior makes living together unsafe or untenable.
  • Desertion is when one spouse departs the marital home for a certain period without agreement.

Proving fault requires evidence, including witness testimony, written communications, or physical proof of wrongdoing. This evidence must convince the court that the misconduct occurred and led to the breakdown of the marriage.

At-fault divorces can affect the division of assets, custody arrangements, and alimony, often favoring the spouse who is not at fault.

Legal Implications and Challenges

The legal challenges in at-fault divorces include the difficulty of proving fault, which can lengthen the divorce process and increase costs.

In addition, if the fault is proven, it may lead to unequal settlements in alimony or asset division, which can be a major financial benefit or detriment, depending on your position.

These divorces can also have emotional consequences, as airing grievances in a public forum can increase animosity between spouses. This heightened conflict can make co-parenting and post-divorce interactions more difficult.

Therefore, it's essential to weigh the potential benefits of pursuing an at-fault divorce against the possible negative outcomes.

No-Fault Divorce

A no-fault divorce is founded on unresolved differences. In this type of divorce, neither spouse is required to prove the other's misconduct as a cause for the dissolution of the marriage. Of note is that AZ is a no-fault divorce state.

Understanding No-Fault Divorce

In a no-fault divorce, the spouse filing for divorce does not blame the other for the marriage's failure. This approach can reduce conflict and simplify the legal process by removing the need to prove wrongdoing.

Most states now allow no-fault divorces, recognizing that sometimes couples mutually grow apart without serious fault on either side.

This type of divorce typically requires the couple to live apart for a designated period before the divorce can be finalized. The required separation period varies by state but serves as a cooling-off period and a chance to confirm that reconciliation isn't possible.

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Advantages:
    • Simplicity. Easier legal process without the need to prove fault.
    • Speed. Often faster since it eliminates prolonged disputes over the reasons for the divorce.
    • Reduced conflict. Lowers the emotional stress involved by avoiding blame.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Lack of closure. For some individuals, no-fault divorce can feel like a lack of closure if they believe specific grievances are not addressed.
    • Potential for unfair asset distribution. Without fault considered, one spouse may feel the division of assets doesn't reflect the circumstances that led to the divorce.
    • Impersonal. Some critics argue that no-fault divorce treats the dissolution of a marriage too much like a business transaction.

Summary Divorce

Summary divorce

Summary divorces, simplified or expedited divorces, are streamlined processes available to couples who meet certain eligibility criteria. These criteria often include having no children, minimal assets, and agreement on all divorce-related issues.

Pros and Cons of Summary Divorce

  • Pros:
    • Efficiency. Quicker and less complicated process.
    • Cost-effective. Generally less expensive due to fewer legal fees and minimal court involvement.
    • Less stress. Reduces the emotional and logistical burden of divorce.
  • Cons:
    • Eligibility restrictions. It is only available to couples who meet specific criteria, which can exclude many who do not.
    • Limited scope. It may need to address more complex financial or custodial issues adequately.
    • Not suitable for contested divorces. It could be more effective for couples with serious disagreements or complex marital assets.

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is a method where couples agree to work out their divorce settlements amicably without going to court. This process involves negotiations between both spouses with the assistance of their lawyers and, often, other neutral professionals like financial advisors and child specialists.

Benefits of Collaborative Divorce

  • Control. Couples have more control over the outcome than in court-ruled settlements.
  • Privacy. Keeps disputes and personal information out of the public court records.
  • Less adversarial. Encourages a cooperative approach rather than a combative one, which can preserve a respectful relationship post-divorce.
  • Comprehensive. Allows for more creative and customized agreements.
  • Children's well-being. Reduces the impact of divorce on children by minimizing conflict and keeping their needs at the forefront of discussions.

Mediated Divorce

Mediated divorce involves a neutral third party who helps spouses negotiate an agreement on all aspects of their divorce. This mediator does not make decisions like a judge but facilitates discussions and offers suggestions to help resolve conflicts.

How to Prepare for Mediation

  • Gather financial documents. To ensure informed decision-making, prepare all relevant financial information, including assets, debts, income, and expenses.
  • Set clear goals. Know what you want to achieve from the divorce mediation process regarding asset division, child custody, and support arrangements.
  • Consider your children's needs. Focus on making decisions that best support your children's emotional and physical well-being.
  • Stay open to compromise. Be prepared to make concessions, understanding that compromise is often necessary to reach a fair settlement.
  • Choose the right mediator. Select a mediator with experience in divorce mediation, especially if complex issues like business ownership or substantial assets are involved.

You Need a Divorce Lawyer To Represent You

Navigating a divorce requires legal expertise to protect your rights and interests. Whether you are facing an uncontested divorce or a complex contested case, having a skilled divorce lawyer can provide guidance and advocacy.

The Benefits of Working With Our Team

  • Expert guidance. Our experienced lawyers provide knowledgeable guidance through every step of the divorce process.
  • Personalized representation. We customize our legal strategies to address your specific needs and goals.
  • Negotiation skills. Our team excels in negotiating favorable settlements that protect your interests.
  • Litigation experience. If your divorce case goes to court, our experienced litigators are prepared to fight for your interests.
  • Support and resources. We offer comprehensive support and access to resources that can help ease the emotional and logistical burdens of divorce.

Contact Genesis Family Law & Divorce Lawyers for a Free Consultation For Your Divorce Case

Contact Genesis Family Law & Divorce Lawyers for a free consultation for your divorce case

If you are considering divorce or are already in the process, it's essential to have reliable legal representation as we address various issues related to family law.

At Genesis Family Law & Divorce Lawyers, we aim to help you achieve the best possible outcomes in your divorce proceedings. Contact us today for a free case consultation.