What are “contested” divorces?
Contested divorces are the most complex type of divorces since it involves spouses that can’t agree on one or many matters concerning their divorce.
Generally, there are 2 types of divorces. The first one is an “uncontested” divorce; this is where both spouses agree on every issue concerning their divorce, comprising of but not limited to the distribution of marital assets and debts, child custody if there are any, child support, and alimony.
The second type of divorce, “contested” divorces, are where the parties can’t agree on their divorce matters, and spouses end up going to court, requesting a judge to make their decisions for them.
Uncontested divorces simply mean that both parties agree on each of their divorce related matters. Every state has particular legal requirements that need to be reached prior to a divorcing couple proceeding with their uncontested divorce. You may want to speak with a local lawyer or investigate your local courthouse’s website for the particular requirements.
Although you have to reach particular requirements, uncontested divorces are usually much easier than a contested one since spouses can end the marriage without continual negotiations, legal bravado, and court proceedings. Therefore, an uncontested divorce typically involves less strain and marginal legal fees.
Despite that, divorcing spouses need to be amicable and able to work collectively toward respectively agreeable determinations. They need to be prepared to compromise in order to resolve all of their matters concerning divorce. Even though working with your soon to be ex in settling important financial and child-related matters might seem challenging, it is one way for the marriage to come to an end without a full-scale court battle.
A contested divorce is exactly what it appears to be: both parties or, one party contest (disagree) some facet of their divorce. Because of this, the divorce proceedings take a lot longer to finish and usually involve more stress and higher legal fees.
With contested divorces, spouses are required to go through several steps prior to the divorce being finalized, including:
- create, file and serve the divorce petition (legal documents requesting a divorce and declaring the grounds for the failure of the marriage)
- reply to the petition
- interview and retain a lawyer
- engage in “divorce discovery” – the information collecting steps, involving various legal procedures to obtain information from your soon to be ex and 3rd party witnesses (for example, written out questions, subpoenas, and statements)
- pretrial legal motions and trials
- settlement propositions and negotiations among lawyers
- if settlement tanks, prepare for trial
- finish a court trial
- appeal, if you disagree with the judge’s decision(s).
Throughout the settlement stage, spouses are occasionally unable to resolve matters. Even though the divorce judge might encourage spouses to work their matters out, when that fails the next stage is divorce court.
Throughout trial, each spouse will present witnesses, and their lawyers cross-examine the witnesses and provide closing arguments. Following trial, the court issues a final order that memorializes each of the judge’s decisions, then finalize the divorce.
Divorce—particularly the divorces that are contested—are complicated. Thus, spouses in contested divorces need to absolutely consult with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer that can advise them of their legal rights and guarantee they are fully protected.
Nolo. “What Is a ‘Contested’ Divorce?” Www.divorcenet.com, Nolo, 13 Apr. 2013, www.divorcenet.com/legal-advice/divorce/divorce-basics/what-contested-divorce.
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