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Divorce is a significant life event that can be emotionally taxing and legally intricate. In Edmonton, Alberta, divorcing couples have two primary options: contested and uncontested divorce. Each path comes with its own set of complexities and implications. To help you navigate this difficult process, let’s explore the key differences between contested and uncontested divorce in Edmonton, Alberta.

What is Contested Divorce?

A contested divorce occurs when spouses are unable to agree on critical issues related to their separation. These issues may include child custody and access arrangements, division of assets and debts, spousal support, and other matters. When a divorce is contested, it often requires legal representation, and the decisions may be made by a judge in court. The process can be time-consuming, emotionally draining, and financially burdensome.

What is Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce, on the other hand, happens when both spouses reach an agreement on all aspects of their separation. They work together to negotiate and settle issues, including child custody, support, and the division of property and debts. Uncontested divorces are typically less time-consuming and expensive compared to contested ones, as there is no need for a trial or extensive legal proceedings.

What are the Key Differences in Legal Process?

Contested Divorce Process:

In a contested divorce, one spouse initiates the process by filing a Statement of Claim for Divorce. The other spouse must then respond by filing a Statement of Defence if they disagree with any aspect of the claim. The parties exchange relevant documents and information during the discovery phase, and attempts at mediation or negotiation may be made to resolve the issues. If an agreement cannot be reached, the case proceeds to trial, where a judge makes decisions on unresolved matters.

Uncontested Divorce Process:

In contrast, an uncontested divorce begins with both spouses jointly filing the necessary paperwork, including a Joint Statement of Claim for Divorce. This statement indicates that both parties are in agreement on all issues related to their divorce. The court reviews the documents, and if everything is in order, the divorce is typically granted without the need for a court appearance.

How Long Does Each Process Take?

Contested Divorce Timeline:

The duration of a contested divorce can vary significantly based on the complexity of the issues, the court’s schedule, and the willingness of the parties to cooperate. On average, a contested divorce in Edmonton can take several months to over a year to reach a resolution.

Uncontested Divorce Timeline:

Uncontested divorces are generally faster and more streamlined. If all paperwork is properly submitted and the court’s caseload is not overwhelming, an uncontested divorce in Edmonton can be finalized within a few months.

What are the Costs Involved?

Contested Divorce Costs:

The costs of a contested divorce can add up quickly. Legal representation, court fees, expert witness expenses, and other related costs can be substantial. The more contentious the issues, the higher the legal expenses are likely to be.

Uncontested Divorce Costs:

Uncontested divorces are typically less costly since there is no need for extensive court proceedings or trial. The primary expenses are usually related to legal fees for preparing and filing the necessary paperwork.

How are Child Custody and Support Decided in Each Case?

Contested Divorce and Child Custody/Support:

In a contested divorce, child custody and support arrangements are often decided by a judge, who considers the best interests of the child. Both parties present their arguments and evidence regarding their ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment for the child.

Uncontested Divorce and Child Custody/Support:

In an uncontested divorce, the parents work together to create a mutually agreeable parenting plan that addresses child custody, visitation schedules, and support arrangements. The court reviews the plan to ensure it is in the child’s best interests before finalizing the divorce.


In conclusion, contested and uncontested divorces in Edmonton, Alberta, represent two distinct paths for couples seeking to end their marriages. While contested divorces involve disputes and legal proceedings, uncontested divorces are characterized by mutual agreement and cooperation. Understanding these differences can help individuals make informed decisions and choose the most suitable approach for their specific circumstances. For more information, Contract Kolinsky Law office to get the provide the support and legal representation you need during divorce to navigate these complex issues effectively.