Contested Divorce: How to settle?
A contested divorce is one in which the parties cannot agree to the terms of their divorce. Many times, the disagreement centers on how to split property or what support should be ordered.
The first step in a contested divorce is for each party to decide whether they want an attorney or if they are going to try and handle the case themselves. Obviously, this decision depends on many factors, but it can save you significant time and money if you are able to settle your issues with your spouse without court intervention. On the other hand, some people get an attorney even when they are not prepared for litigation because they do not feel comfortable making certain decisions alone.
If you have children together, then there has likely been conflict between you and your spouse for a while. This is because there will likely be issues surrounding the custody and visitation of your children, as well as child support and spousal support. This is where you will need an experienced contested divorce lawyer.
In determining how to handle the division of marital property, you must come up with a way that both respects your spouse’s interests in their property and protects your own interest in yours. In some cases, this may mean reaching an agreement about what steps to take next in order to achieve a fair result. The parties may agree on a mediator for this purpose or they may agree to go before a judge in a settlement conference in which they can present their proposals regarding division of debt and division of assets directly to the judge. Sometimes, people will try mediation before moving on any further.
If you decide to mediate, then you will jointly agree on a mediator who will try to help the two of you come up with an agreement that both parties can be satisfied with. The mediator generally has experience in marital property division matters and may be able to give creative suggestions about how to reach an agreement.
If mediation fails, then it is possible that your divorce becomes contested. Many legal issues pop up for consideration during this phase—from custody schedules to child support payment amounts. As part of the discovery process, each party must prepare questions for their spouse as well as document requests so they know what documents are relevant for gathering information before trial. The court will typically order one party or another to take a deposition at some point prior to trial. The purpose of a deposition is to obtain testimony from the opposing party and then provide that information in written form for any hearings or trial.
If you find yourself in a contested divorce, it can be very helpful to have an attorney advocating on your behalf throughout the process. Lastly, it’s important that your attorney has a good reputation within the family law community. When hiring an attorney, it’s important that they care about their clients and practice with integrity and honesty because if they don’t, then chances are they won’t care enough about winning your case to actually work very hard at it.