What does Contested Divorce mean?
Spouses who cannot come to an agreement on basic divorce issues such as division of property, child custody and spousal support payments may have to resolve what is called a contested divorce through litigation. Contested divorces take longer and cost more than an uncontested or collaborative divorce.
Spouses who are filing a contested divorce will generally meet with a divorce lawyer, serve a divorce petition to their spouse, and participate in discovery and a potential settlement agreement. If the settlement agreement fails they can request a trial. Generally, the court requires the spouses to attempt mediation or another alternative dispute resolution strategy to avoid a trial.
At the first attorney/client meeting the attorney will interview the spouse and gather all pertinent documents relating to the marriage. After that they will prepare the divorce petition and file the petition in court and serve it to the other spouse. If the spouse does not respond within the specified time, the court will issue a default judgment for divorce. If they do respond the couple may be required to attempt ADR or go to court if ADR fails.
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