Getting a Contested Divorce in USA

For getting a contested divorce in USA, the couple should have a disagreement on certain issues like child custody, alimony, property division and child support. In such situations, the court process takes longer to conclude. When both the parties cannot solve the issues mutually, they go before the court for a decision.

For getting a contested divorce in USA, here are the steps to be followed:

Contested Divorce Procedures

Meeting an Attorney

Once you have met an attorney, discuss with him/her about all the documents that will be required for the divorce process. Submit those documents to the lawyer later. The lawyer will then determine what he/she feels you are permitted to, and then will prepare your divorce petition and file it with the court.

Divorce Petition served upon your Spouse

Once the petition is filed in the court, the lawyer will then serve the petition on your spouse. It can be served to your spouse by a person, by mail or by the deputy sheriff.

Your Spouse responds to the Petition

State laws in United States require your spouse to respond to the petition for divorce within 30 days. If your spouse fails to respond, you may obtain a default judgment of divorce. If your spouse does respond, the divorce case will then proceed to discovery and settlement stages.


Discovery is the part for getting a contested divorce in USA. In this step, both the spouses obtain detailed information from each other about income, marital assets and other issues that are to be discussed in the case. All these documents are then submitted to the court. During discovery, the spouses can request for temporary orders for alimony and child support from the court.


Most judges will request both the spouses to come to an agreement before the final court date. The judge may order the spouses to go to the mediator. 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 trial, each side can put on witnesses, cross-examine the other side’s witnesses and make closing arguments. The judge will hear both the spouses’ cases at the trial and will come to a decision regarding all the issues.

Post Trial Motions

After the completion of trial and the judge has signed his/her order, either party can file a post – 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 the post trial motions are not accepted, then a notice of appeal can be filed within 30 days of final judgment. The spouses seeking the appeal get a couple of months to file the case at the local court near the place where they are residing

For getting a contested divorce in USA, both the spouses should be patient until the end of the process. They are costly as fees and attorney’s fees turn to be huge till the divorce is granted.