There are two main types of divorces: contested and uncontested. As the names suggest, a contested divorce involves more complications that an uncontested divorce.
When there’s a contention in the divorce claim, it is called a contested divorce. It is a legal term but is also used socially to refer to rough divorces.
In this guide, we will go through everything you need to know about contested divorces. We will talk about the reasons behind contested divorces, the legal implications, how to navigate your way through it, and more.
What is a contested divorce?
When a couple decides to get divorced, it doesn’t end with arguments and heartbreaks. There are multiple things to sort out before the court can declare the divorce official. Here are some of the things both partners need to figure out before getting a divorce:
- If you have a kid(s), who will look after them, and under what terms?
- How will your fixed assets like house, car, investments, etc. be divided?
- In what terms will you repay the loans taken as a married couple?
- If either partner is not financially independent, how will the other partner provide support?
- In what terms will you pay bills for services used during the marriage?
There are even more minutiae that you would have to work through to get an uncontested divorce.
But what happens when there are disagreements from either party on one or more of these issues? These disagreements lead to what we call contested divorce.
In legal terms, contested divorces are divorces where either party raises a dispute against the other on any of these grounds.
The process for a contested divorce in Palm Desert
Contested divorces truly begin at home. But as far as the court is concerned, it begins with a Pleading.
Either spouse will first submit a petition to dissolve the marriage. Uncontested divorces also begin with this step.
Now the court would send a notice on behalf of the filing spouse to the other spouse. They would then prepare and send a response to the divorce papers. They get 30 days to do it.
If the court doesn’t get any response from the non-filing spouse, it would come to a default divorce decision at its discretion.
The discovery process
The discovery process begins after both parties have appeared to the court. In this stage, both spouses have to disclose information about their assets, income sources, debts, liabilities, and anything else that is relevant to the other spouse.
The discovery process can go on for months. But even in a contested divorce, the entire process can be wrapped quickly if both partners do not have major disagreements. If there are only one or two issues of contention, the court can step in. It can allow a Request for Order — a court order for specific divorces that need to be resolved quickly.
No matter what your disagreements are, the discovery process will solve most of them. Even if it doesn’t resolve everything, the judge would encourage both spouses to come to a mutual settlement.
If both parties come to a settlement quickly, the divorce process is finished with a quick formal trial. But it can take a very long time when both parties cannot agree on some key factors.
The trial process for a contested divorce can last from weeks to months. Although the court will encourage both spouses to come to an amicable resolution, it is not always possible.
The trial can go on very long if the spouses do not agree on several things. The judge will listen to both parties and take into account everything from the assets to their conduct during the marriage. With each side presenting their case and disputing the other’s case, this process can continue for a long time.
If you do not want to go through a long trial, you will have to work out your differences during the discovery process. Otherwise, be prepared for a long court case.
There are a lot of minute components of a divorce that only an attorney can manage and understand. It is possible to get an uncontested divorce without hiring a lawyer. The same cannot be said for a contested divorce.
Most common factors for contested divorces
Most contested divorces have a few common threads. Dispute regarding property is one of the biggest causes of contested divorces. Another major factor is child support. When either spouse is financially dependent on the other, the chances of the divorce being contested are common.
Contested divorces also aim to serve justice to perpetrators of domestic violence. If either spouse has been physically violent during the marriage, their case would become very weak. The court aims to protect the best interests of both parties but also to serve justice.
How much does a contested divorce cost?
There is no way of saying precisely how much a contested divorce would cost. In California, it costs $17,500 on average for a divorce. But as with all averages, the numbers are skewed by the highest and lowest variables.
Unless you are paying a flat fee to your attorney, there is no way of determining how much the divorce would cost you. Generally, the longer the trial goes, the more you have to pay.
A competent divorce attorney will try to wrap your case in as little time as possible. Working with an experienced and competent attorney is ultimately a smarter financial decision.
Contact A Palm Desert Contested Divorce Lawyer For A Consultation Today!
Divorces are never pleasant, but they are also essential at times. Nobody wants to go through a bad divorce, and that makes uncontested divorce more desirable than contested divorces. But life doesn’t play by the rules, and you may end up finding yourself in a highly contested divorce.
We hope this guide answers the questions you must have had about contested divorces. In reality, a contested divorce is far worse than an uncontested divorce. To give it your best shot, make sure you hire the best divorce lawyer you can find. A good attorney is the only person who can make a divorce easier.