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The Contested Divorce Process

Divorces typically fall into two different categories – contested and uncontested. In a contested divorce, both spouses are not able to agree on the terms of the divorce. They may have disputes regarding child custody, child support, spousal support, or property division. In a contested divorce, the court will ultimately decide on these often contentious issues. On the other hand, when the parties agree on all of the divorce terms, they can enter into an uncontested divorce. It is important to have legal representation in both a contested and uncontested divorce. It is particularly important during a contested divorce. Contested divorces often go to trial, and you will need an assertive, experienced lawyer advocating for your rights.

Understanding the Contested Divorce Process

If you are considering a divorce, you may be wondering whether you will be able to have an uncontested divorce. If you and your spouse are truly able to agree on all of the major issues regarding your divorce, an uncontested divorce could be your best option. However, most divorcing spouses are unable to agree on all of the issues related to their divorce. When spouses cannot resolve key issues in their divorce, they need the family court system to decide their case through litigation. Each spouse will present evidence to the court during their divorce trial.

For most people, going through a divorce will be one of the most difficult times of their life. Going through a divorce is extremely stressful, and the process involves discussing sensitive issues. One or both spouses may feel like they need to act defensively to protect themselves and their reputations. Extremely personal matters may become public during the divorce trial and influence the outcome of the divorce. This process can make even the most reasonable and kind people afraid to give up any ground because they might lose the right to see their child and their property. As a result, many spouses who go into the process, thinking they will have an uncontested divorce find out that they have unresolved issues and need a contested divorce.


What Happens After Filing for a Contested Divorce?

After you meet with your lawyer, your lawyer will create a litigation strategy to protect all of your current and future interests. your lawyer should keep your long-term goals in mind, and help you understand which issues you are unwilling to compromise on, and which issues you may be willing to negotiate. If you have received a copy of the petition for the dissolution of your marriage, we recommend meeting with the lawyer as soon as possible. It is unwise to respond to the petition without talking to a lawyer because you could unintentionally put yourself in a worse position for negotiations. 

The procedure for your contested divorce will depend on whether the court will oversee your divorce. If you have been served with a petition for the dissolution of your marriage, you will need to respond between 20 to 60 days after receiving the petition. If you fail to respond quickly enough, you risk the court entering a default judgment, which will likely not be in your favor. It is essential that you speak with an attorney and file a response to put yourself in a better legal situation going forward.

After the petition for dissolution has been filed, both spouses will gather information during the discovery process. Your lawyer will be able to learn more information about the debts and assets of your spouse. You will need to ask third parties to submit information regarding your spouse’s assets and debts in many cases. Unfortunately, and contested divorce, spouses have been known to hide information that could be detrimental to them during the divorce process. Your lawyer will be able to provide effective discovery and learn more about your spouse’s financial situation.


Contested Divorces and Child Custody

Many parents going through a contested divorce are understandably most worried about their children’s best interests. One spouse may be seeking sole physical and legal custody of the child. It can be a parent’s worst nightmare to consider not spending time with and helping raise a child. Your lawyer will help you gather evidence regarding your child’s needs and related to your spouse’s parenting. In many cases, you will work with a parenting evaluator who is an expert who makes recommendations related to your child’s best interest. In some cases, you may need to request that the court issue a temporary order of custody to protect your children’s best interest.


Why You Need an Experienced Lawyer in a Contested Divorce

In a contested divorce, both spouses are seeking to make sure the court rules in their favor. As such, the process of a contested divorce can become combative and high-conflict. The last thing you want is for your spouse to have high-quality legal representation who will trample on your rights. The terms of your divorce and child custody arrangements could affect your life negatively for years to come. Now is the time to make sure you hire an experienced contested divorce lawyer who will advocate for your rides throughout the process.

In many cases, your lawyer will need time to prepare for the divorce trial. Many lawyers start preparing for trial before one of the spouses even files the initial petition to dissolve their marriage. The earlier you speak with a family law lawyer in the process, the better. Divorces are often a time-consuming process, and they can be expensive. But you want to make sure that the results protect you and your children.


Contact a Divorce Lawyer Today

If you are going through a contested divorce, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. Contact Akiona Law, PLLC today to schedule your initial consultation.