There are two kinds of divorce in Massachusetts: uncontested and contested.

In most cases, couples will disagree on one more issues in their divorce, such as the division of property or custody and the parenting plan, making it contested. Contested means there are still things that need to be worked out. All outstanding issues must be resolved, either through an agreement between the two spouses or by a judge’s decision, for a divorce to be granted. Contested divorces are quite common due to the number of important components in many divorces today.

An uncontested divorce is one where both spouses agree on all issues involved in the divorce and have drafted up a separation agreement. Uncontested divorces still require a hearing before a judge before the divorce can be granted; the judge will want to make sure the agreement is fair to both spouses.

An uncontested divorce isn’t just one that is mutual; both spouses have to agree on all pertinent issues such as how to divide the family finances, who gets what property, and how to co-parent any minor children common to the couple. If your divorce is uncontested, you and your spouse will have to draft a separation agreement with the help of an experienced mediator and appear before the judge one time to present it. If the judge accepts the separation agreement at your hearing, your work is done. Your initial divorce judgment, called a judgment nisi, will be entered 30 days from the h earing and finalized 90 days after that.

Your divorce will be considered contested if you and your spouse cannot agree on everything. Contested divorces can be complex. If you have to take your divorce to court you may lose some control over your case. Litigating in court is often costly and time-consuming. In the end, the judge may not decide on an outcome you are happy with. Consult with an experienced Massachusetts divorce mediator to work out the terms of your Agreement with your spouse. To mitigate conflict and avoid the adversarial nature of litigation, consider divorce mediation as an alternative to courtroom battles.

If you are contemplating divorce and have questions about the process, contact Mediation Advantage Services for expert help. Experienced in divorce mediation, Law Office of Polly Tatum can help you efficiently mediate your divorce amicably with your spouse. Our firm serves those across Worcester County as well as across Massachusetts. Call our Worcester office at (508) 466-4734 , fill out our online form, or email us at today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free guide for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.