A contested divorce is one in which the couple disagrees about vital issues in divorce – child custody and support, alimony, division of property or debt sharing. They are not able to reach a consensus about these issues and need legal interference to reach a fair conclusion. Another connotation of contested divorce is that when one party is interested in divorce and the other party does not want the divorce.
Conditions Giving Way To Contested Divorce:
Above are some of the common conflicts in a contested divorce. Of course these are not the only reasons for a divorce as each case is different.
- The division of marital property involves lot of complications
- Both the spouses are adamant on seeking child custody
- There is a disagreement regarding payment of alimony
- There is disagreement regarding sharing of debt and are involved in buying marital property
- The other spouse is not ready to share the cost of raising the child or supporting the child.
How To Deal With Contested Divorce?
In a contested divorce, the role of attorney is very important. In a no contest divorce where the couple agrees with each other on various issues, the role of attorney is not that crucial. Any moderate attorney can help you seek divorce. But when it comes to contested divorce the attorney has to be experienced and ready to take challenges.
So the first step in a contested divorce is to look for a good and reputed lawyer. Beyond that, the case proceeds in a sequential procedure. The steps involved are:
After this process is over, the court issues a divorce decree to the couple. If any of the spouses is not satisfied with the decree, then he or she can re-appeal.
- Filing the petition: One of the spouse files the divorce petition in the court and the other responds to that petition. The spouse gets a notice about the petition through mail or somebody from court. He/she is expected to respond within a specified time. In case, the other spouse fails to respond the court grants the divorce decree after a period of time.
- Discovery: In "Discovery" the spouses are legally bound by the court to provide detailed information about each other’s income, property, etc. They can ask for important documents from each other in order to show the court or substantiate their stand.
- Trial: During trial, both the spouses have to be present before the court in order to present their defenses and allegations before the court. Both the parties are cross examined and can present their own witnesses.
Contested divorce is time taking and involves a lot of expenditure. The frequent visits to the court and attorney incur huge bills. Thus, contested divorce is a good idea only if the bone of contention is worthy enough to fight for. It is also emotionally taxing on the kids to face the wrath of their troubled parents.
However, if the spouses are not able to reach a fair agreement and one of them wants to have his/her own way then it is definitely advisable to go for a contested divorce.
Tips To Simplify A Contested Divorce:
If contested divorce is unavoidable, then you can try to reduce the complications by controlling your ego and being reasonable.
- Hire a reputed lawyer experienced in fighting cases that are complicated
- Deal with the issue in a matured manner and do not let your ego overrule
- Try to stay cool with each other so that the children are not affected
- Do not hide facts and information from each other because this will further complicate the matters
- Provide access to important documents and information whenever required
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