Divorces are rarely totally “uncontested.” These situations tend to create many disputes that can be difficult to resolve. However, if you can handle the components of a divorce outside of a court proceeding, you are likely to obtain many advantages. If you are going through a contested divorce, it is especially important to obtain the services of an experienced divorce attorney to protect yourself throughout the process. Here are some things that you need to know about contested divorces.
Contested Divorces vs Uncontested Divorces
Contested divorces are generally more complex and difficult than their uncontested counterparts. In a contested divorce, each party is unable to come to an agreement regarding the factors of the divorce. This type of divorce tends to move much more slowly and can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months to resolve. They also are often more expensive, because they require more court-related processes and services of a professional. Finally, contested divorces are appealable, because the final decision is made by the court.
In an uncontested divorce, each party will come to an agreement regarding the terms without necessarily going to trial in a divorce. These uncontested divorces tend to be settled much more quickly than contested divorces, usually around 30-60 days. They also tend to be less expensive because they require fewer processes and steps. Since each side has come to an agreement on the terms of the divorce, they are not appealable processes. This doesn’t mean that the terms are set in stone, but it will require different processes to change them.
Common Issues in a Divorce
Understanding the key common issues in a divorce will help you to understand why contested divorces are often necessary. The issues that tend to be difficult for individuals to resolve include child support and custody, asset distribution, the division of property, alimony payments, debt allocation, and temporary spousal support. It is extremely common for each party to not be able to come to an agreement on these things, which may require a contested divorce if mediation is unsuccessful.
Tips for Avoiding Contested Divorces
Contested divorces can be incredibly complex and frustrating. Understanding how to avoid these divorces can go a long way toward simplifying your divorce process. It is important to remain civil as much as possible in any interactions with the other party. It is also crucial to listen to the other individual, even if you don’t necessarily agree with what they are saying. Don’t get greedy in the divorce process and attempt to get more than your fair share of the possessions. It is important to refrain from making principle arguments. Though you might feel like you deserve something out of principle, this can simply convolute the process. Ensure that you are open to the idea of compromising, as this is often the cornerstone of a simplified divorce process. It can be especially helpful to consult with professionals throughout the divorce process, especially an attorney.
The Steps in a Contested Divorce
Contested divorces tend to be more complex, which results in many more steps. This is why they should generally be avoided when an uncontested divorce is possible. Here are the steps that are involved in a contested divorce.
Obtain an Attorney
It is critical to hire a divorce attorney during a contested divorce. However, it can still be particularly beneficial to hire an attorney during an uncontested divorce. Divorces can be incredibly complicated and difficult to go through. Working with an attorney can significantly help to improve the process and protect your interests throughout the divorce.
File a Divorce Petition
The first step in the divorce process is crafting and filing a divorce petition. This petition tends to include the reasons for the divorce and the various factors involved in the divorce. Whether you or your spouse files the divorce petition, it is the first step toward obtaining a divorce.
Response to Petition
After the divorce petition has been filed, the other party will have to respond to the petition. Consulting with a divorce attorney can help with either filing the divorce petition or responding to a divorce petition that has been filed.
After the second party has responded to the divorce petition, the process will go into the information gathering stage. This is the stage where your attorney will gather any information that is relevant to the divorce. This may include gathering testimonies from the spouse or other 3rd party witnesses. This information will likely be used in court to determine the final outcome of the divorce.
Legal Motions and Hearings
There are many various legal motions and hearings that may be necessary prior to the trial. These processes will happen after the information gathering portion of the divorce process.
Settlement Proposals and Negotiations
During settlement stages, it is possible that you will be able to avoid taking the matter to court. During this stage, you often work with your attorneys or mediators to try and find an agreement that everyone can come to terms with. This stage can help to resolve disputes without requiring a court trial. However, going to trial will become necessary if the settlement process fails.
Prepare for Trial
If the settlement fails, the matter will proceed to trial. During this time period, you and your attorney will focus on preparing for the upcoming trial.
In a contested divorce, there will be a court trial. During this trial, the court will decide the various factors of the divorce. However, it is important to keep in mind that a court trial may not result in the ideal outcome you want. If this is the case, there will be yet another step in the contested divorce process.
If necessary, you may appeal the court’s decision. This may help you to obtain the most favorable outcome for your divorce process. It is also important to keep in mind that an appeal is not an option in an uncontested divorce, because a court hasn’t made the final decision in this case.
Here at Ammon Nelson Law, we provide excellent divorce services to ensure the best possible outcome for your divorce, whether it is contested or uncontested. To learn more about the importance of an attorney during a contested divorce, contact us at Ammon Nelson Law today!