What to Expect in a Contested Divorce

What to Expect in a Contested Divorce

Divorce is difficult, regardless of whether you and your spouse are on the same page. So what happens when you can’t seem to come to an agreement on even the smallest details in your divorce? This is considered a contested divorce and often involves various legal processes to ensure the case is handled fairly for both sides.

In most cases, the divorce proceedings will take much longer in a contested divorce compared to an amicable or peaceful divorce (uncontested). Unfortunately, this also often means heightened stress levels and increased expenses. The good news is that a knowledgeable and skilled divorce lawyer can guide you through this process in an efficient and strategic manner.

Preparing for Your Contested Divorce

So what should you expect in an uncontested divorce?

  • You (or your spouse) will need to prepare, file, and serve the divorce petition.
  • Once the divorce petition is acknowledged or responded to, discovery can proceed.
  • At this point, you and your spouse should likely retain divorce lawyers.
  • “Divorce discovery” includes gathering all financial and personal documents related to divorce.
  • After this, pre-trial legal motions and hearings will take place.
  • If you both have an attorney, settlement proposals and negotiations may take place.
  • If negotiations fail (as is common in contested divorce), trial will need to occur.
  • The judge will give a ruling on child custody, support, property division and other matters.
  • If you or your spouse disagree with the ruling, you can appeal the judge’s decision.

As mentioned, it can be very difficult for spouses and their attorneys to resolve matters during the settlement and negotiations phase in a contested divorce. Many times, these types of divorces will go all the way through to the judge’s ruling, even including appeals in some cases.

Keep in mind, if your divorce goes to court, you may be required to provide witnesses and other information to demonstrate your argument. This can make matters very complicated, as lawyers will likely cross-examine witnesses, challenging documents, and contest any piece of evidence the other party brings forward.

Not sure whether you are dealing with a contested divorce or if you can resolve matters with your spouse? Contact The Virga Law Firm, P.A. to discuss your case with a reliable divorce lawyer in Panama City.