When going through a divorce, not all spouses will be parting their ways amicably as friends.
In fact, most divorces are contested.
What is a contested divorce?
When couples usually can’t come to an agreement on several issues on their marriage such as child custody or separation of joint assets, then, they are going through a contested divorce. So what spouses do is they usually either go to court, or another option will be hiring a divorce mediator.
Divorces sometimes be a painful and scary place to be, especially if you don’t know how to get through all the steps you will have to go through as you deal with the legal procedures.
Here is a quick guide to a contested divorce:
- Seek out an attorney
The first thing you must do is to seek out a divorce attorney who is right for you. Then, your lawyer will interview you for pertinent information such as children and marital assets.The attorney will then determine what you’re entitled to (alimony, child support, division of assets and payment of debts) then create a divorce petition and file it before the court.
- Get the divorce petition serve upon your spouse
The next process is for the divorce petition to be served upon your spouse once it’s already filed in court. It can either be served in person, through a deputy sheriff or by mail.
- Let your spouse respond to the petition
Most state laws require at least 30 days for your spouse to officially respond. However, what happens if he/she doesn’t respond in the given amount of time? That’s where you will be able to gain a default judgment of divorce. It means that will case will proceed through the next stages.
It is wherein spouses can get certain pertinent information like marital assets, custody, and other issues that are related to the case. It can be done with filling documents requests, sets of written questions, and depositions. It is also through this stage that spouses can file for alimony and temporary order for child support.
Before the final court date, judges may request the spouses to come up with an agreement as they resolve their issues. Mediation between the two parties is also involved here. However, if unable to settle their differences, the case will proceed to the divorce court.
The judge will hear both parties and then come up with the final decision. Witnesses will be questioned and depending on the complexity of your case, it usually takes some time for the final order from the court to come out.
A party can sign a post-trial motion within 30 days after the final order comes out. If approved, it will allow you and your attorney to contest the judge’s decision on your case.
If post-trial motions are denied, you can still have the option to appeal to the appeals court. Most states will usually grant an oral argument, after which the court can make a final decision.
Contested divorces can be challenging. It still requires for you and your spouse to settle different issues before both of you can get on with your seperate lives. Talk to a experienced contested divorce attorney here.