A Guide To Contested Divorces

Failure to agree on even one thing during a divorce can instantly complicate the process. This is because both you and your former spouse will now need to go before a judge to hammer out all details of the divorce. When this occurs, it is called a contested divorce. The following guide can help you better understand what this will entail.

What sort of disputes can lead to a contested divorce?

Disputing or failing to agree on any aspect results in a contested divorce. This can include the division of property or financial disagreements. This differs from an uncontested divorce, which is where you and your former spouse come to an agreement together on the division of property and finances, so you only need the judge to sign off on it.

Do you have to go before a judge?

Not necessarily. Both you and your former spouse should have your own attorneys. These professionals will help you each draft and negotiate settlement proposals. Sometimes, it is possible to reach an agreement before the trial date is set, but both parties must agree on the proposal.

What is the timeline for a contested divorce?

Much like any divorce proceeding, it begins with filing and serving the divorce petition and giving the other spouse time to respond to the petition. Then there will be a research period, where you and your lawyer list all shared and individual property and money. The divorce then goes to the pre-trial hearing, which is then followed by settlement and negotiations. If an agreement can be reached, then a full trial isn't necessary. If you or your former spouse contest, then it goes to a full trial.

Can you appeal the judge's final decision?

You do have the ability to appeal a decision made in the court trial. This will re-open the case, and you will likely need to go to trial a second time.

What if you and your former spouse agree on some things?

In a contested divorce, the judge makes the final decision on all property and finances. Usually, they will take into account the things that are agreed upon and make a decision on these items accordingly, but they are not required to keep you and your former spouse's wishes in mind.

Are there witnesses called in during a divorce trial?

Yes, you or your former spouse can bring in witnesses, including family and friends, to help prove your case in the disagreement. For example, if the disagreement is over a car, neighbors could be brought in to vouch for who they see as the main driver of the vehicle. Since people you actually know will be attending the trial, it's important to keep in mind that some of your private dealings with your spouse may be revealed during the course of the hearing.

For more information, contact Lisa J Kleinberg or a similar legal professional.