The concept of a contested divorce is one that comes up frequently in conversations with a divorce lawyer. You may be wondering what the term means from the perspective of a divorce attorney. You'll also likely want to know whether it's a concern in your case. Let's take a look at how the folks at a divorce attorney services firm see the problem.
What is a Contested Divorce?
A contested divorce is one where some specific aspect of the case cannot be resolved through negotiations. This can cover a wide range of issues, such as child custody and support, the division of property or payment of alimony. While it's understood that some disagreement will feature in conversations about divorce, a case becomes contested when one party officially asks the court to weigh in on the matter.
Notably, a contested divorce is not the same as an at-fault divorce. Fault can be assigned without a contest. Likewise, details of a no-fault divorce may end up in dispute.
Does This Mean Going to Court?
Paperwork will certainly have to be filed, but starting out on a track toward a contested divorce doesn't guarantee it will stay that way. Folks often decide to back down when they're confronted with potential costs of ending up in court. Likewise, there is the risk of losing, and that often prompts negotiation.
What Does the Process Entail?
Depending on the circumstances of what's being contested, the case may proceed like many types of civil court cases do. That means the court will ask for testimony and evidence from both parties. Each side will also be obligated to disclose information to each other during the discovery process.
Especially when the case raises questions about finances, discovery can be a useful tool. A contested divorce lawyer may be able to compel a resistant party to disclose more information about their finances. This is often a good form of leverage in encouraging a negotiated outcome, particularly when one party doesn't want financial details to be opened up.
Is It Necessary?
In most cases, a divorce lawyer will say that a contested divorce is neither necessary nor desirable. For example, if neither side really has any assets that are worth fighting over, it may not be worth getting into a fight. Conversely, if there are concerns about child custody, visitation and access, those may be worth sorting out with the assistance of the court.
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