Defending Your Peace of Mind Contested Divorce

Contested Divorce Lawyer in Orlando, FL

What Is Contested Divorce?

A contested divorce occurs whenever a couple decides to divorce but has yet to agree on the terms of their divorce. (As you can imagine, these are much more common than uncontested divorces, in which both parties agree on everything.) In any case, disagreement between you and your spouse regarding your divorce means you are going to need the help of a professional.

Contested divorces involve disagreements and differing perspectives on a variety of consequential arrangements that must be made, including (but not limited to):

  • Child custody and support
  • Alimony and spousal support
  • Division of property and assets
  • Division of shared debts
  • Responsibility to legal fees associated with divorce

Call The Virga Law Firm, P.A. at 800-822-5170 today to secure dedicated legal representation in your divorce.

    Why Do Contested Divorces Occur?

    Contested divorces happen when spouses can't agree on one or more key aspects of their divorce, leading to disagreement and the need for court intervention. Several reasons contribute to contested divorces:

    • Financial Disagreements: Disputes over finances, including asset division, property rights, debts, and alimony, often lead to contested divorces. One spouse may feel entitled to a larger share or may contest the valuation of assets.
    • Child Custody and Support: Disagreements regarding child custody arrangements, visitation schedules, and child support payments can escalate into contested divorces. Both parties may have different ideas about what's in the best interest of the child.
    • Allegations of Misconduct: Accusations of infidelity, abuse, or other misconduct can lead to contentious divorce proceedings. These allegations can impact issues like custody or alimony and often heighten emotions during the divorce process.
    • Communication Breakdown: Poor communication or a lack of effective communication between spouses can hinder the ability to negotiate and agree on divorce terms. Misunderstandings or unresolved issues may contribute to a contested divorce.
    • Emotional Factors: Emotions such as anger, hurt, or a desire for revenge can play a significant role in contested divorces. These feelings may obstruct the ability of the parties to compromise and reach agreements.
    • Complexities of Assets or Business Interests: Divorces involving significant assets, businesses, or complex financial arrangements can be more likely to result in contention. Valuing and dividing these assets fairly can be challenging and lead to disputes.
    • Lack of Agreement on Divorce Terms: Sometimes, the fundamental aspects of the divorce, such as the terms of the settlement or division of property, simply cannot be agreed upon by both parties.
    • Legal Representation: Disparities in legal representation or advice can sometimes contribute to a contested divorce. If one spouse feels they're not being adequately represented or advised, it might lead to a reluctance to agree on terms.
    • External Pressures: Pressure from family members, friends, or external influences might impact a spouse's willingness to negotiate or compromise.

    Contested divorces often involve a more adversarial and lengthy legal process compared to uncontested divorces, primarily because they require court intervention to resolve disputes between the parties.

    Possible Solutions for Contested Divorces

    Contested divorces can be messy, but they are not impossible to work through. As soon as you decide to divorce or become aware that you and your spouse may not be able to agree on important issues, consult with an experienced lawyer right away. An attorney can help you explore your options and work to prevent a contentious, drawn-out trial, if at all possible.

    Some of your options may include mediation, arbitration, and collaborative divorce. The right fit will depend on your circumstances and the extent to which you and your spouse may be able to work together to resolve your legal, financial, and familial problems.

    The Legal Process of a Contested Divorce in Florida

    In Florida, a contested divorce involves several steps and can be complex. Here's a general overview:

    1. Filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage: One spouse (the petitioner) files a petition for divorce in the circuit court where they live. The petition outlines the grounds for divorce (Florida is a no-fault divorce state), requests for division of assets, child custody, support, etc.
    2. Service of Process: The other spouse (the respondent) must be served with a copy of the petition and related documents. This can be done by a process server or through certified mail with return receipt requested.
    3. Response: The respondent has a certain period to respond to the petition, usually 20-30 days after being served. They can agree or disagree with the terms outlined in the petition.
    4. Discovery: Both parties gather information about each other’s finances, assets, and liabilities through various methods such as requests for production of documents, interrogatories (written questions), and depositions.
    5. Mediation: Florida courts generally require mediation before a contested divorce goes to trial. A neutral mediator helps both parties negotiate and try to reach an agreement on issues like child custody, support, and division of assets.
    6. Pre-Trial Conference: If mediation fails, the court may schedule a pre-trial conference to clarify the issues, streamline the case, and possibly encourage a settlement.
    7. Trial: If the parties still can't reach an agreement, the case goes to trial. Both sides present their arguments, evidence, and witnesses to the judge. The judge then decides on unresolved issues like property division, alimony, child custody, and support.
    8. Final Judgment: After the trial, the judge issues a final judgment of dissolution of marriage, detailing the terms of the divorce.
    9. Post-Judgment Motions and Appeals: Either party may file post-judgment motions or appeals if they believe legal errors were made during the trial.
    10. Implementation: Once the final judgment is issued and any waiting periods have passed, both parties must implement the terms outlined in the judgment, such as property division, payment of support, or custody arrangements.

    It's crucial to note that each divorce case is unique, and the specifics can vary based on the circumstances. Additionally, legal proceedings can be time-consuming and emotionally challenging, so seeking legal counsel is highly recommended to navigate the process effectively.

    Going Through a Conflict-Ridden Divorce? You’re Going to Need Help. Call 800-822-5170 Today!

    At The Virga Law Firm, P.A., we believe in using our varying experience to your advantage and our knowledge to help you get through divorce as quickly and efficiently as possible. Our Orlando divorce attorneys can help you work toward the type of settlement you want and ensure your best interests are protected throughout your divorce.

    Schedule your initial case evaluation with a member of our team today and make us your advocates.

    • “I will definitely be recommending to anyone I know that needs a child custody or divorce attorney!” - A Divorce Client
    • “If you are looking for an attorney who is professional, honest, knowledgeable and responsive to your needs, Gerard Virga meets such requirements.” - A Divorce Client
    • “He responded to my messages promptly and I never felt rushed when speaking with him in meetings and phone conversations.” - A Divorce Client
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