Everything to Know About a Contested Divorce
When one half of a married couple does not fully agree to the terms of a divorce, the separation may be contested. It’s important for a spouse to know what this means before he or she takes the steps to contest the divorce. While the average contested divorce will cost $20,000 on average, taking strong action may still be necessary in some circumstances.
What Is a Contested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce occurs when the separating couple agrees on every facet of the divorce. On the other hand, contested divorces take place when at least one spouse disputes certain aspects of the divorce. Disagreements could arise due to anything from the amount of child support payments to the division of property. As one might imagine, a contested divorce will typically involve more steps than an uncontested split. If a contested divorce goes to court, both of the spouses will have the ability to bring forth any witnesses and provide closing arguments in front of a judge who will make the final judgment. There are times when some of the more extensive elements of contested divorce proceedings can be avoided through the use of a professional mediator. A mediator is a third-party professional who handles discussions between both spouses in an attempt to reach an agreement on any outstanding divorce terms. If mediation doesn’t work in bringing both sides together, it’s possible that the divorce will be taken before a judge.
Primary Legal Steps During a Contested Divorce
There are a wide variety of legal steps that typically occur during a contested divorce. Steps include everything from meeting with an attorney to divorce settlement negotiations. When a spouse is looking to end a marriage, he or she will usually meet with an attorney before the actual filing of the divorce occurs. The spouse will most likely file a divorce petition with the court, which is then served to the other spouse before anything else takes place. This petition can be served via a deputy sheriff, in person or by mail. In most cases, the spouse who has been provided with the petition will then have 30 days to respond to the document. If no response is made within the allotted time, it’s possible that a divorce judgment will be made immediately. When the spouse does make a response to the petition, the next phases of the divorce will include discovery and an eventual settlement. The discovery process is centered around gathering information pertaining to the income and marital assets of the divorcing couple. It’s during this phase that temporary orders of alimony or child support could be given by the court. Before going to court, the couple typically has the opportunity to come to a settlement agreement. This means that the added time and cost of going to court can be avoided. If an agreement can’t be reached, court proceedings will take place. The process involves making arguments, presenting witness statements and providing closing statements. At the end of the trial, a judge will make a decision. An appeal can sometimes be made to challenge this final decision. While it’s true that some contested divorces have been known to cost more than $100,000, such expenses can be avoided if a spouse is prepared and makes wise legal decisions.
How Our Hackensack Divorce Attorney Can Provide Legal Assistance
Here at the Law Offices of Kelly Berton Rocco, we can provide you with comprehensive representation for your divorce. Our firm handles both uncontested and contested divorces. We will provide you with legal advice whenever necessary and help guide you throughout every aspect of the process. If the divorce ends up going to court, our attorneys will cross-examine any witnesses and build a strong case for you. During settlement negotiations, we will fight for your best interests and help ensure a fair settlement agreement. Getting a divorce can make for a complicated process if you don’t know what you’re doing. Contact our Hackensack divorce attorney today at (201) 343-0078 so that we can help simplify this process.