A divorce can be finalized in two ways: (1) by agreement between the parties; or (2) by a judge deciding on the terms of the divorce decree. When parties agree on all of the terms of the divorce, the judge just needs to sign the decree in order to finalize the divorce. One of the two parties will still need to go to court in order to obtain the judge’s signature. This process is typically called a “prove-up”.
When parties cannot agree on all of the terms of the divorce, the parties will have to go to Court, present evidence to the judge, and allow the judge to make a ruling on what the terms of the divorce will be. That process is typically called a “contested” divorce.