Types of Divorce

Types of Divorce

The traditional representation of divorces in the movies and on TV is typically marked by arguments over serious issues such as child custody and the determination of who receives what at the end of the day – let alone emotions at fever pitch, occasionally with tense events developing because of those feelings – but, that form of divorce, legally referenced as a contested divorce, isn’t inevitable convention. There are a multitude of various types of divorce, many are very different from the common contested kind. In the end, divorce isn’t a standard matter, and the type of divorce spouses opt for is subject to the specifics of their circumstances:

  • Are they compliant to work with one and to reach an agreement on matters that may be otherwise fiercely contested?
  • Are there valuable assets to split or are there children involved?
  • Why is the marriage coming to close to begin with?

The solutions to these questions can assist in guiding divorcing spouses to the type of divorce that better suits their distinctive situation. Presently, a lot of alternatives pursue to keep the case out of court and resolve conflicts in a cooperative way when possible.

Below are the most frequently types of divorce:

Fault and No-Fault Divorces

Not long ago, the weight fell on the spouse wanting the divorce to show wrongdoing on the part of the other spouse in order to warrant the divorce. General reasons comprised of cheating, extreme inhumanity, neglect, and abuse. Whereas every state has put an end to making the practice of proving fault mandatory in preference of a no-fault method that recognizes that both spouses contributed to the failure of the marriage, 3 states still necessitate that fault be proven when the couple engaged in a “covenant” marriage – Arizona, Arkansas and Louisiana – and many states offer the “fault” option as well as the no-fault one. Nevertheless, no-fault divorces are now common practice, specifically for couples that don’t anticipate a lot of repercussions over issues such as the division of assets.

Uncontested Divorces

Contrary to conventional contested divorces, uncontested divorces rely on each of the spouses working alongside one another to negotiate the conditions. Essentially, the process involves each spouse filing separate documents with the court prior to going their separate ways amicably. Because everything is figured out at the beginning, there is no requirement for hearings, negotiation of settlements or other court proceedings.


When divorcing spouses wish to resolve combative issues outside court but can’t reach an agreement by themselves, they might opt for arbitration, whereupon a privatized judge referred to as an arbitrator assesses each parties account of the facts concerning the case as a unbiased 3rd party and then makes a judgment like a judge would in a courtroom.


Another commonplace option for couples that can’t agree on the in an outs of the divorce but wish to remain out of court, mediation is comparable to arbitration in which it also involves a unbiased 3rd party that hears each spouses’ view of things. Nevertheless, contrary to arbitration, the mediator is not going to make any decisions for the parties but encourages communication among them instead so they can reach an agreement that may then be utilized by a judge to produce the conclusive divorce judgment.

Collaborative Divorces

Also referred to as collaborative law and/or collaborative practice, collaborative divorces are alternative way of resolving disagreements between a divorcing couple without involving the court. This type of divorce is comparable with arbitration and mediation, but rather than using a unbiased 3rd party to encourage communication or to make a decision for them, it involves each spouse hiring their own attorneys, one in which has a special concentration on collaborative law. Prior to starting the process, each spouse is going to sign an agreement declaring that they are going to work with each other to reach an agreement. If that fails, each of their attorneys are going withdraw themselves from the case, and both spouses are going to have to start all over again, making this agreement being an effective motivation to work with each other.

Default Divorces

Basically, divorces in absentia, this sort of divorce transpires when one spouse files for divorce and the other gives no response – typically because they can’t be located. The divorce is awarded “by default” and devoid of the need for the non-responsive party to present themselves before the court at all.

Summary Divorces

Summary – or “simple” – divorces are meant to simplify the process for spouses that are most likely to be in a situation to work with one another; namely, they lack considerable assets, don’t have children and were not married for long period. A lot of states enforce a monetary ceiling for the amount of assets and debts that the couple is able to have and necessitates that no children or considerable real property be present even though exceptions are able to be made in some jurisdictions with the proper paperwork. In summary divorces, each of the spouses typically only are required to fill out and file a couple of forms to finish the process.

Contested Divorces

Conventional “heated” divorces, this commonly known type involves each of the spouses retaining their own attorneys and taking combative matters in front of the court for the judge to determine. The formal process usually involves hearings, negotiation settlements and possibly a trial in some cases. This type of divorce may be required when each of the spouses have a lofty net worth, significant assets and debts, and a lot on the line in the proceedings.

Same-sex Divorces

In the ever-growing number of states allowing same-sex marriage in addition to several other states, same-sex couples currently have legal alternatives to terminate their marriages, domestic partnerships, or civil unions officially, using similar forms and proceedings as heterosexual married spouses.


    1. In-depth guides. Divorce Knowledgebase. (n.d.). Retrieved October 7, 2021, from https://www.divorceknowledgebase.com/blog/types-of-divorce/.

Speak with our Divorce Attorney in Phoenix & Scottsdale, AZ

Moshier Law should be your choice when you need the best divorce attorney in Phoenix. An experienced family law attorney will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. We advocate for our clients, so they have the brightest future possible. Give us a call today at 480-999-0800 for a free consultation.


Jennifer Moshier Collaborative Divorce Lawyer Scottsdale Arizona
Jennifer Moshier, Scottsdale Divorce Lawyer

Recent Posts



Finding the right mediator can be difficult.


Divorce and Family Law

When a case demands litigation, you’ll have the benefit of 19 years of litigation experience in California and Arizona. But when a case demands collaborative law, or mediation, we can meaningfully describe why collaborative law or mediation may or may not be your best option.

Moshier Law services all of Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona. Jennifer and her team of professionals seek to resolve Family Law cases efficiently with your goals in mind.

Jennifer Moshier, Scottsdale Divorce Lawyer

Trail Potter  –  Divorce  Lawyer

Moshier Law - Phoenix Divorce, DCS and CPS, Custody, Estate Planning, Probate, and Adoption Lawyers