Divorces are either contested or uncontested.
A contested divorce means the spouse who didn’t file for divorce doesn’t agree to it. That doesn’t mean the divorce won’t happen—states set out guidelines for when divorces will be granted, so the spouse wanting the divorce just needs to find a way to comply with those guidelines—but it does mean the process will be somewhat more difficult.
Overall, the divorce process is much easier if a divorce is uncontested. Essentially, an uncontested divorce means one of two things: the spouse who was served with the divorce either consents to it or “fails to appear” (that covers both physical appearance in court and legal “appearance” by answering the complaint).
Just because a divorce is uncontested, however, doesn’t mean the parties will agree to everything in the divorce process. They will generally still have big issues to sort out, from finances and division of property to child custody and support. If they agree on those matters, an uncontested divorce can move through the courts fairly quickly. If not, well… that’s what divorce attorneys and mediators are for!
Related: Fault vs. no-fault divorce
Photo credit: TheeErin