Contested Divorce

Contested divorce is a divorce process in which both
parties cannot agree either about getting divorced or about the terms of
divorce such as allocation of debts, child support and division of assets as
well as custody of children.

Couples who opt to go through this type of divorce should expect to have a more complicated process unlike those who can agree on
everything. If you cannot agree with your spouse on some type of settlement on
your own, you will have to retain a divorce lawyer to assist you go through the
process.

Petition and response to petition

Your lawyer will file a petition with the court and
proceed to serve a copy of the petition on your spouse. He or she can be served
by mail, in person or through other means. If you cannot locate your spouse, you
can opt to have the petition published in local newspapers.

After this you have to wait for a pre-determined amount of time before proceeding with the divorce
process.  If your spouse does not respond within the stipulated
time limit, your spouse is in default which allows you to obtain a default judgment
of divorce.

Discovery

This part involves spouses obtaining detailed
information from each other about marital assets, custody, income and any other
issues relevant to their case. Discovery is performed using written
interrogations, depositions and document requests.

Settlement

Most of time judges encourage spouses who have
chosen to go through contested divorce to come to an agreement before the final
court date. Some judges may order the spouses to go through mediation where a 3rd
party tries to assist them resolve their issues. If both parties are not able
to agree on their differences, the case will proceed to trial.

Trial

During trial each side will present their witnesses,
cross-examine witnesses from the other side and make closing arguments. The
amount of divorce cases on the docket typically determines how quickly your case
goes to trial. The judge will listen to both sides of the case during trial and
make a decision regarding all issues. Basically the duration it takes for the
judge to write a final order is directly related to the issues involved in your
case.

Basically a contested divorce is a messy process which
requires a sober mind. If you attempt to go through the process without legal assistance,
you are highly likely to not like the result you get at the end of the trial. Spouses who go
through this process often confess that it was physically and emotionally
draining. If you intend to go through this process, your best bet is to get a
good legal representative to guide you through the process
and argue your case in court.

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