Across the nation, one divorce takes place every 36 seconds. That translates to 2,400 divorces every day, 16,800 divorces every week, and 876,000 divorces every year. There are many reasons for divorce, ranging from adultery to irreconcilable differences. And you might be surprised to learn that there are nearly as many types of divorces as there are reasons for them. No matter the type, divorce can be incredibly complex and emotionally overwhelming, which is why you should seek divorce advice from a reputable attorney. Your divorce lawyer can also explain more about the following kinds of divorce and advise you as to which will best suit your needs and circumstances.
- Uncontested: Typically, this type of divorce is the most desirable kind (if there is such a thing). It's certainly the most straightforward, requiring both parties to agree to the divorce and its terms. Both spouses will need to file their own paperwork, but these proceedings are often quick. You may not even need to go to court for this type of divorce. However, it's still important that you consult with a divorce attorney before agreeing to any terms to ensure your rights are protected.
- No-Fault and Fault: It used to be that you had to prove fault when seeking a divorce, meaning that you had to show your spouse was legally to blame for the breakdown of your marriage. Justifiable reasons for fault divorce can include cruelty, abuse, abandonment, and adultery. But today, proving fault is not required. All 50 states have made it so proving fault is no longer mandatory, though some still offer it as an option. No-fault divorces have become the standard, allowing couples to cite irreconcilable differences or an irremediable breakdown of the relationship, rather than placing blame.
- Default: This type of divorce can occur when one spouse files and the other does not respond to the filing. Typically, this happens when the spouse purposely disappears and doesn't want to be found. It's essentially divorce in absentia. Even though the spouse does not participate in any court proceedings, a divorce may still be granted in these cases. They are, however, pretty rare (especially in the digital age, when people are easier to track down).
- Summary or Simplified: This is a particular type of uncontested divorce that may be available to couples who have not been married for a substantial length of time and who have no children or substantial assets to speak of. As the name suggests, it's a more simplified process that requires very little paperwork. While it is possible to file for a summary divorce without help from an attorney, it's still a good idea to consult one - particularly if you have questions about assets or debts and how they'll affect your ability to file.
- Collaborative: There are a few different alternatives to pursuing divorce in a court of law, including arbitration and mediation. Collaborative divorce is another way of resolving conflict in a divorce without having to go to court. It's similar to the other types we just mentioned, but there is no neutral third party that helps the couple to communicate and ultimately decides the outcome. Instead, each spouse has their own attorney who focuses on collaborative law. Each party will sign an agreement that says they'll work together to resolve their differences and make final decisions about the terms of their divorce. If this does not occur, both lawyers withdraw from the case and the couple has to start the entire process over from scratch. For that reason, collaborative divorce can help fighting couples see the need to work together and put the past behind them.
As you can see, not every type of divorce will be an appropriate choice for your specific situation. If you are considering filing for divorce, be sure to consult with an experienced attorney who can answer your questions, advise you on your next steps, and protect your rights.