An uncontested divorce is a divorce proceeding where the court formally grants the requested divorce without the need to go through significant portions of the adversarial litigation process. In short, an uncontested divorce is when the parties are not fighting each other about the divorce itself or the terms of their separation.
An uncontested divorce can arise when the parties agree in writing to resolve all disputes between them, or it can arise by default. A default divorce is when either the defendant does not answer the summons, or the parties agree to enter a default, and thus they obtain judgment of divorce automatically because there is no response to the complaint.
States have different procedures on how uncontested divorce actions work. For example, in Georgia, according to Georgia Superior Court Rule 24.6(a) , when both parties provide written consent to a hearing, a divorce can be granted any time 31 days after service or filing acknowledgement of service. Further, according to Georgia Superior Court Rule 24.6(b), in an unanswered (default) action, a divorce may be granted any time 46 days after service, unless the court has ordered an extension of the time to respond.
See also this directive with instructions on how the uncontested divorce procedure works in New Jersey.
The states have varying procedures for this type of action, so it is important to know what the process is in your state before beginning an uncontested divorce proceeding. Look to state laws for more information.
[Last updated in September of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]