Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide

Contested divorce procedures

In a contested divorce, both the parties are unable to come to an agreement on issues in divorce such as child custody and division of marital assets. In such situations, the court process takes longer to conclude. When both spouses cannot solve the issues mutually, they go before the court for a decision. The court will make the final decision on all issues which were not agreed by both spouses.

Contested Divorce procedures:

  • Meeting with an Attorney
  • Divorce Petition Served Upon either Spouse
  • The Spouse Responds to the Petition
  • Discovery
  • Settlement
  • Trial
  • Post – Trial Motions
  • Appeals

Meeting With an Attorney:

Once you have met an attorney he/she will interview you. At the time of interview, your attorney will collect all the documents related to marital assets, children, and other issues that need to be solved. The attorney will then determine what he/she feels you are permitted to, and will prepare your divorce petition and file it with the court.

Divorce Petition Served Upon Your Spouse:

Once the divorce petition is filed in the court, attorney will then serve the petition on your spouse. The petition can be served to your spouse by a person, by mail or by a deputy sheriff. And if you are not able to find your spouse, a notice will be published in a newspaper, and you will have to wait a fix time before moving ahead for divorce.

Your Spouse Responds to the Petition:

Most state laws in United States require your spouse to respond to the petition for divorce within 30 days. If your spouse fails to respond within your state’s specified time limit, he/she is in default. In such cases you may obtain a default judgment of divorce. If your spouse does respond, your divorce case will then proceed on to the discovery and settlement stages.


Discovery is the part of the contested divorce procedures where spouses obtain detailed information from each other about income, marital assets, custody and other issues that are to be discussed in case. This is done with the help of paper work. All these documents are then submitted to the court. During discovery the spouses can request temporary orders for alimony and child support from the courts.


Most judges will request both the parties to come to an agreement before the final court date. Then the judge may order the spouses to go to mediator. The mediator is a third party attempt who helps them to discuss any unresolved issues. If the spouses are unable to solve the issues and come to an agreement then the discovery phase will continue. And the case will be scheduled for divorce court.


During your divorce trial, each side can put on witnesses, cross - examine the other side’s witnesses and make closing arguments. The state laws and the number of divorce cases in your local Family Court System will decide how quickly your case goes to trial. The judge will hear both parties’ cases at trial and will come to a decision regarding all issues. The length of time it takes by the judge to write a final order depends on complexity of your case.

Post-Trial Motions:

After the completion of trial and the judge has signed his/her order, either party can file a post – a trial motion for relief from the final judgment. The party has 30 days to file a post-trial motion. The other party has 30 days to respond to the motion.


If post – trial motions are not accepted then a notice of appeal can be filed within 30 days of the final judgment. The spouses seeking the appeal get couple of months to file the case to the local court near to the place where they are residing. They can file spouses brief in that court. The other party will then have a month to file a response brief.

Contested divorce procedures are lengthy than uncontested procedures. They are costly as court fees and attorney fees turns to be huge till the divorce is granted.

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