Divorce laws and types of divorce vary between states. There is the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act that some states follow, but individual state requirements and procedures vary. Some states also recognize the Uniform Divorce Recognition Act, requiring that a divorce be filed in both parties state of residence. It is important to find out if your state has any lone divorce requirements, such as a separation period, before deciding which type of divorce is right for your situation.

No Fault Divorce

A divorce of this type does not require any allegations of wrong doing toward either party involved. Grounds for this type of divorce have included irreconcilable differences and irremediable breakdown of the marriage. The only state not honoring a true no fault divorce is New York. In most states, this is the most common form of divorce.

At Fault Divorce

Many states still allow at fault divorces, while some do not. With this type of divorce one party has to have done something wrong. Wrongdoings resulting in the failure of the marriage, otherwise known as grounds for divorce, could include adultery, physical or mental cruelty, desertion, or imprisonment. If the spouse accused of such wrongdoing does not agree to the divorce, or the facts stated in the divorce agreement, he or she would have to deny the accusations and possibly prove a defense in court.

Summary Divorce

A summary, or simple, divorce is not widely available. There are eligibility requirements to be able to pursue this form of divorce including limits on the term of the marriage and property. Simplified, or summary divorces, are uncontested, no fault divorces with absolutely no disagreements on the settlement. This type of divorce is typically the fastest.

Uncontested Divorce

This type of divorce is uncontested because both parties were able to reach an agreement, with or without the guidance of a lawyer or mediator. Most states require all issues to be agreed upon including custody of children, support payments, real property, and any other assets the parties may hold. Approval rate of an uncontested divorce is high when the parties can present the court with a fair agreement. You may also agree on the divorce as uncontested and later ask the court to decided how to split property and decide on custody issues.

Collaborative Divorce

In a collaborative divorce the parties, with the assistance of attorneys, negotiate an agreed resolution. Often with this type of divorce a financial specialist will also assist in the negotiations. The parties are entitled to make their own decisions based on their own needs and interests, but only with professional support. The lawyers would be disqualified from representing either party in the event that the collaborative divorce proceeds into a contested legal proceeding. There are no enforceable time guidelines for the completion of this type of divorce.

Mediated Divorce

In a mediated divorce session a mediator will assist both parties with communicating their wants and needs in the settlement. They will also provide information and suggestions to help resolve any differences, or disagreements, between the parties. After the mediation process is complete, the parties should have a divorce agreement tailored to their needs that can then be submitted to the court.


Although annulment is not a type of divorce, it is similar in the way that it dissolves a marriage. Unlike a divorce, an annulment will indicate that the marriage never happened. Annulments have strict regulations that will vary greatly by state. The most common grants of annulment are made when the couple has not been married very long and there was some type of misunderstanding, or misinformation, prior to the marriage. This could include the wish, or ability, to have or not have children.

Prior to deciding what type of divorce best fits your situation it is important to research the state law for where you and your spouse reside. Each state may have more, or less, requirements to satisfy each type of divorce. In the event the couple resides in a different state from where the marriage took place they may be required to file a divorce in each state.

Deciding which type of divorce is right for your situation may be difficult. There is a usually a high cost associated with a long and drawn out divorce. Each type of divorce will carry with it an expected time of resolution. If agreements can be made between the parties prior to filing for a divorce it will be a much shorter, less stressful, process.




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