The Process of a Contested Divorce
A contested divorce is one where one or both spouses cannot reach an agreement on their divorce concerns, which often result to court hearings where the judge will be the one to decide for them. A contested divorce is perhaps the most difficult type of divorce, because both spouses have arguments regarding important matters of the divorce. Just as the name suggests, a contested divorce is where one or both spouses dispute certain or all aspects o the divorce. This would make the divorce proceedings longer and more costly, with greater stress and additional legal fees.
The process of a contested divorce is longer and would have more steps than that of an uncontested divorce. Because of the complications that come with divorce and family law, it is crucial to have a lawyer by your side to help you with the legalities. The attorneys at Marshall & Taylor recommend a family lawyer who specializes in divorce proceedings or a divorce mediator arbitrate, because contested divorce often leads to court. There are generally eight steps involved when it comes to a contested divorce. The first one is meeting with your lawyer who will gather all the necessary information and documents regarding the divorce (including but not limited to marital assets, children in the marriage, etc.) to decide what your are entitled to and to determine the petition to file in court. Next is serving the divorce petition to your spouse: by mail, in person, or by a deputy sheriff.
The third step is to wait for your spouse to respond to the petition, usually within 30 days or depending on your state divorce laws. If no response has been received from your spouse within the state’s specified limit, then he/she will be considered in default, or if there is a response the divorce will proceed to discovery and settlement. At these stages both spouses will have the chance to get detailed information from each other’s marital assets, incomes, child custody, etc. it is at this time that the court seeks both spouses to come into a settlement through mediation, otherwise, the next step would be going to trial.
On the trial stage, both spouses will have time to present their side of the case and, depending on the complexities of your case, the final order will be decided by the judge. You and your spouse will have a chance to file a post-trial motion from relief from final judgment to be filed at the trial court. If the court denies the post-trial motions, then an appeal can be filed in the appeals court for the court to decide whether to reverse the decision or to deny the appeal.