You may have heard the phrase “contested divorce” and wondered, “what exactly does that mean?” Well, a contested divorce is essentially the opposite of an “uncontested divorce.” An uncontested divorce is simply a situation where the parties are able to agree on the terms of the divorce. For example, they agree on how the marital property will be divided, who will pay what debts, and child custody if children are involved. An uncontested divorce is recommended because attorney’s fees are much cheaper, and the parties have more control over the outcome of the divorce. That is of course, if the parties can agree. A court generally has minimal involvement in an uncontested divorce.
What is Contested Divorce?
A contested divorce is the opposite. It is what it sounds like; generally, the parties are unable to agree on the majority, if not all, of the issues involved. The court is heavily involved in a contested divorce. The parties are handing the decision-making power over how their marital property will be divided, and even the custody arrangements for their children if applicable, to a judge. The parties likely will be required to attend court hearings and engage in the discovery process. Further, they must abide by any court rulings made during the litigation and ultimately, the parties will have to go to the final trial before the judge. The judge will hear all the evidence concerning what property and assets the parties acquired, issues of child custody and even misconduct by one or both parties. After hearing testimony and considering evidence, the judge will ultimately divide the parties’ personal and real property and determine custody arrangements for any children involved including the amount of child support to be paid and by whom.
A contested divorce can be extremely stressful and require a significant amount of time and resources. Because the judge will make the ultimate decisions that will significantly impact your life moving forward after the divorce, it is extremely important that you find an attorney who knows the process and can guide you through it. Understand, there are generally no real “winners” in divorce. But, you do want to position yourself so that you have a chance to get the most favorable outcome available under the circumstances. An experienced divorce attorney will be able to advise you accordingly. Contact us online today!