Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide

Contesting Divorce Settlements

Contested divorce is where both the spouses do not agree with each other on certain things like child custody and division of the marital assets. This matter is handled legally by the court where both the parties appear before the judge. Court gives the final decision which has to be agreed upon by both the spouses. Once you know you and your spouse canít reach to a mutual agreement, you can hire an attorney.

Importance of attorney:

The most important thing in a contested divorce is the role of attorney. An attorney helps to settle the legal issues on which the couple doesnít agree with each other. It is very important to hire an attorney with whom you are comfortable in sharing your matters. He/she has to be experienced and ready to take challenges.

Filing the petition:

One of the spouses files the divorce petition in the court and the other spouse responds to that petition. The spouse who receives the notice about that petition through mail or somebody from court is expected to respond to this petition within a specified time. In case, if the other spouse doesnít reply, the court grants the divorce decree after a period of time.


In discovery both the spouses are legally bound by the court. Hence they need to provide detailed information about each otherís income, property and various assets which they own individually or together. They can even ask for important documents from each other as a proof in front of the court in order to substantiate their stand.

Trial :

During the period of trial both the spouses need to be present before court in order to submit their defenses and allegations before the court. Both of the spouses are cross examined and can present their own witnesses. After this process a contested divorce decree is issued to the couple. However if any of the spouses is not happy with the decree then he or she can re-appeal for the same.

Post trial motion:

After the completion of the trial and the judge has signed his/her order, either of the spouse is entitled to file a post Ė trial motion for the relief from the final judgment. The spouse typically has 30 days to file a post trial motion after the order is signed. However the other party too has 30 days to respond to the motion.

Appeal :

Within 30 days a notice of appeal can be filed for the final judgment if the post trial motions are denied. The party who is seeking for the appeal will have a few months to file the lower court record with the appeal court and can file his or her brief. The other party then will have about a month to file a response brief.

Contested divorce settlement is a longer procedure and consumes lot of time as well as money. You and your spouse can avoid this emotional and financial drain of contested divorce by working out for an agreeable solution of the assets and child custody.

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