If you are experiencing a divorce, it is incredibly important to understand what a contested divorce is. This will help you to understand the process, as well as if you are going to have to go through a contested divorce process. Here are a few things that you will need to keep in mind about contested divorces and the differences between contested and uncontested divorces.
What is a Contested Divorce?
A contested divorce ultimately occurs during a divorce proceeding when both parties are unable to agree on the various factors of the divorce. When each party can’t come to an agreement, despite mediation or settlement processes, the case will have to go to court. This is what is considered a contested divorce. Though it is useful to hire an attorney during any divorce process, it is especially important when you are going through a contested divorce.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorces
There are many differences between contested and uncontested divorces. In most situations, it is most beneficial to have an uncontested divorce when possible. Uncontested divorces tend to be much more advantageous than contested divorces. An uncontested divorce occurs when each party is able to come to an agreement regarding the overall terms of the divorce without requiring a trial. They tend to move much more quickly and are often completed between 30 and 60 days. This also ensures that they are much less expensive, because they require fewer steps and processes. However, it is important to keep in mind that uncontested divorces are not appealable, because each party originally agreed to the terms.
Alternatively, contested divorces tend to take much more time to complete than uncontested divorces. They can take anywhere from 6 months to a year to successfully resolve. This often results in a much more expensive process, because more professional services will be necessary. Contested divorces are, however, appealable, because the final decision is made by a court, rather than the parties involved.
Steps in a Contested Divorce
A contested divorce tends to have many more steps than an uncontested divorce. These situations can be much more complex, which makes it incredibly important to consult with an experienced attorney. Here are some of the steps to keep in mind during a contested divorce.
Hire an Attorney
Working with a divorce attorney is incredibly important, especially if you are going through a contested divorce. If you are beginning the divorce process, you will need to begin by hiring an attorney. This is especially important when you are dealing with a contested divorce, though it is still important to work with an attorney during an uncontested divorce.
It is important to craft and file the divorce petition to start the divorce process. This petition can be confusing to complete, which is another benefit that comes with working with a divorce attorney. Ultimately, the divorce petition will either be filed by yourself or your spouse.
Response to Divorce Petition
When one person files the divorce petition, it will be up to the other party to respond to the divorce petition. This is the next step in a contested divorce.
Once the response has been given to the divorce petition, each party will enter the information gathering phase. During this phase, information pertaining to the divorce will be gathered. This information may include testimony from 3rd party witnesses or even the other spouse. The information that is gathered will likely be used during the court trial and will impact the final result.
Pre-Trial Legal Motions and Hearings
Various hearings and legal motions may be necessary prior to the court trial. Your divorce attorney will help to guide you through these processes in order to ensure the best outcome for your divorce.
Settlement Proposals and Negotiations
Settlement proposals and various negotiations can go a long way toward improving the outcome of the divorce. When an agreement can be reached, the divorce may not need to go to trial. These proceedings are generally held between the attorneys and their various parties. During this step, contested divorces may even be able to turn into uncontested divorces.
Prepare for Trial
If each party can’t come to an agreement during the settlement proposals or negotiations, the trial will likely proceed. This means that the attorney and individual will have to begin to prepare for trial in order to ensure the ideal outcome for the divorce.
During the court trial, final decisions will be made regarding various aspects of the divorce. This may not result in the ideal outcome for either party, which is often why it is most beneficial to have an uncontested divorce.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of the divorce, you may want to file an appeal. This may change the outcome of the divorce. Consult with your divorce attorney to determine if an appeal is necessary.
Common Issues in a Divorce
There are many common issues that tend to result in contested divorces being necessary. If you are experiencing these issues, you may want to consider having a contested divorce. Many of these common issues include the division of property, the allocation of debt, alimony considerations, child support and custody arrangements, asset distribution, and temporary spousal support.
Tips for Avoiding a Contested Divorce
Contested divorces come with many drawbacks. It is often most beneficial to consider an uncontested divorce. Here are some tips that may help you to avoid a contested divorce. Don’t try to get more than your fair share from the divorce process and don’t make arguments simply out of principle. Try to stay as civil as possible and make an effort to listen to your spouse. Ensure that you remain open to compromise and work alongside professionals in order to obtain the best outcome for your situation.
Here at the Rocky Mountain Law Office, our expert team can help to ensure that you are able to obtain the best possible outcome for your divorce. We offer a broad array of legal services to guide you through the complicated divorce process. To learn more about the divorce-related legal services that we offer, or the importance of an attorney in a contested divorce, contact us at the Rocky Mountain Law Office today!