Contested Divorce

Contested divorces are those wherein agreement is less than unanimous. That could mean neither spouse agrees on anything, or it could mean both spouses agree on everything except a few things — both situations are examples of contested divorces because they involve some amount of issues that are, you guessed it, contested.

Well, it’s hardly ever as efficient as its opposite, the uncontested divorce. Contested divorces are those wherein agreement is less than unanimous. That could mean neither spouse agrees on anything, or it could mean both spouses agree on everything except a few things — both situations are examples of contested divorces because they involve some amount of issues that are, you guessed it, contested.

The uncontested divorce is relatively smooth and often short in process. The contested divorce is relatively rocky and almost guaranteed to be exhaustingly lengthy, as well as much more costly. If you can swing an uncontested divorce — that is, if you and your spouse can work things out during proceedings so that you’re on the same relevant pages — do it. It’s better this way. Unfortunately, as may be the case with you, a clean and painless divorce can be easier said than done.

The contested divorce is relatively rocky and almost guaranteed to be exhaustingly lengthy, as well as much more costly.

It’s a complicated process! Let’s take a look.

Starting a contested divorce:

The first of various phases within the contested divorce is the Complaint for Divorce. One spouse or the other will file for divorce, and it’s this documentation that will get the ball rolling. Filing this paperwork comes with a fee, which will vary depending on where the divorce is filed and whether or not children are involved.

After one spouse files the complaint, it will be served to the other spouse. This will come with a Summons, which will demand that the served spouse file a response. Methods of serving Complaints and Summons include:

  • Certified mail delivery,
  • Delivery via Sheriff’s deputy,
  • Private process server.

Once a spouse is served, they’ll have about a month (thirty days) to file their response, which may or may not include a counterclaim.

Next comes Written Discovery. Once all the initial divorce paperwork is filed, both spouses will have to exchange all manner of information pertaining to their existence as a married unit. These include Interrogatories, Requests for Admission, and Requests for Production of Documents.

Before going to trial:

After all the aforementioned paperwork is completed and processed, the contested divorce train chugs on. Circumstances have probably been growing increasingly complicated, and here now you have an opportunity to tone things down with Mediation.

During divorce mediation, spouses will equip themselves with lawyers and trudge into a room to hash things out under the wing of a matrimonial mediator. Each spouse will say what they do and do not want out of this divorce, and the unbiased mediator will provide a professional

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