During a contested divorce, spouses are not able to agree on such important issues as child custody or support and division of marital assets. In these cases of contested divorce, the litigation process takes longer, often much longer, to come to a finale. When the spouses cannot agree on terms intrinsic to the dissolution of the marriage, they must appear before the court, which will make the final decision on all issues with which they were not able to come to terms. If possible, it is preferable to pursue an uncontested divorce, particularly where there are minor children involved. Divorce is always painful, trying to come to terms without direct court intervention often makes it easier for all concerned.
There are a number of steps involved in finalizing a contested divorce, many of which are the same as for an uncontested divorce. These include:
• Meeting with your attorney
• Serving your spouse with a divorce petition
• Post-trial motions
• Appeals (if any)
During your initial interview with our office, all pertinent documents pertaining to your marital assets, minor-aged children and other important papers will be gathered. Together, you will determine a fair allocation of finances as well as child custody and support issues. These determinations construct your divorce petition, which will then be filed with the court and, subsequently, with your spouse.
In most states, a spouse has 30 days to respond to a divorce petition. After the response, your case moves on to the discovery phase, in which both spouses are questioned and required to reveal information about marital assets, income, custody, alimony and child support concerns.
Following the discovery phase, judges often encourage the spouses to come to an agreement or enlist the assistance of a skilled mediator who can help arrive at an equitable compromise. If the spouses are unable to come to an agreement, the discovery phase continues and the case will be scheduled for divorce court.
During your actual divorce trial, you and your spouse can present witnesses, cross – examine the other side’s witnesses and make closing arguments. When all testimony is heard, the judge will make final decisions regarding finances, child custody, support and alimony.
After the judge hands down his or her decisions, you have the right to file post-trial motions and/or file appeals regarding those decisions. If an appeal is necessary, your attorney will assist you in filing these documents with the courts.
Going through a divorce is a very difficult experience. You need an intelligent and experienced divorce attorney working with you to protect your rights and establish fair and equitable child and spousal monetary support. Call the Law Firm of Martin Sir & Associates at 615-256-5661; we will fight for your rights.