top of page


couple in a contested divorce

You've done the necessary soul searching, made the financial preparations, talked to your partner, and you've decided that it's time for a divorce. It's a difficult choice, and the only thing worse is when your spouse disagrees. That's called a contested divorce.

But what exactly is the difference between uncontested vs contested divorces? How do the different types of divorces affect your chances of a good outcome and how you should proceed?

Let's take a closer look at the specifics of divorce law when it comes to uncontested divorce and contested divorce.



There are two kinds of divorce - uncontested and contested. Uncontested is the less complicated of the two. In this kind of divorce, the two spouses agree on all issues and items pertaining to the divorce.

They have to agree on the division of property, spousal support, child support, child custody, and debts. That's a lot to agree on, and it's easy for emotions and history to get in the way of reaching a perfect agreement especially while divorcing with kids.

In a divorce where you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on all terms of the divorce, the court considers the divorce contested. The couple will need to appear before a judge who will make the decisions regarding the disagreements for them.


Although filing for divorce costs the same whether your divorce is contested or not, you will probably end up spending significantly more on a contested divorce.

You will need to spend extra money on lawyer fees and expert witnesses (such as appraisers). You'll also end up spending your time because contested divorces take significantly more time to finish finalizing.


Although each province has different terms a couple must meet in order to meet the requirements of an uncontested divorce, you'll generally have to agree on all or most divisions. It's best to consult with a lawyer in Alberta to make sure you meet all those requirements.

This divorce will be much faster because you won't have to sit down with a lawyer to argue over all the details before proceeding with finalization. If you believe that you and your spouse can sit down and work out the details without a court appearance, it may preserve a functional relationship between you, your former spouse, and your children. You can hire a mediator to make the process easier.


There are many more steps involved in a contested divorce - no matter how many terms are being contested. You'll have to deliver a Statement of Claim for Divorce, hire a divorce lawyer, have pre-trial legal motions, negotiations, attempt a settlement, and possibly go to court. If you or your spouse dislikes the court outcome, there may even be an appeal process.

In court, you and your spouse will present both of your sides and the judge will make a decision on all divorce arrangements. That decision will then be issued as an official order and any failure to meet those arrangements will be considered a breach of the law.


Hiring a divorce lawyer can help you sift through the difficult choice between uncontested vs contested divorces. An uncontested divorce may save you money ultimately, but you can only make that choice if you're sure that you and your spouse can agree on all the terms without the court's help.

If you are preparing for a divorce, consult the experienced divorce and family lawyers at Dukeshire Law Office in Northwest Calgary. We can help guide you through the process and details of divorce.

bottom of page