Contesting a Divorce
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What Is a Contested Divorce?
A contested divorce is a divorce in which there are legal issues being disputed during the proceeding. These can include issues such as: child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, and property distributions. For instance, if the parties have a dispute as to how much spousal support is being required, they must indicate this when they file so that the court can deal with this issue during the process.
The opposite of this is an uncontested divorce in which the parties agree to all the terms related to the divorce. Uncontested divorce works in situations where the parties can peaceably agree on all major points of the divorce.
What Are Some Tips to Follow If I’m Considering Contesting a Divorce?
When filing for a contested divorce, you may wish to consider the following tips and points:
- Make full disclosures: Do not conceal assets or hide them from the court in order to obtain a more favorable ruling. This can lead to serious legal consequences, sometimes even criminal consequences. Liability for hiding assets may lead to a contempt order or other consequences.
- Be honest in your disclosures: When you do make disclosures, be sure to be honest and forthcoming with any figures and numbers, especially when it comes to business accounts.
- Consider other parties: Divorce can affect other persons besides the spouses, especially children. Do not use children as "leverage" or "bargaining chips" during the proceedings.
- Consult with an attorney: You will generally benefit by working closely with a family law attorney during the divorce process. In some cases you may need to communicate through your attorney rather than directly to the opposing party.
What If I Have a Serious Dispute over a Legal Issue?
One of the more common disputes when contesting a divorce is that of property distributions. Every state has different laws; some follow community property rules, others follow more specific guidelines. If you have a major dispute during a contested divorce proceeding, you should take note of the issue and compile all major documents related to the issue.
For instance, if there is a dispute over a joint business, be sure to compile the various business records and documents that might be used as evidence in the trial. These can be reviewed by an attorney to help with the dispute at hand.
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney for Help with a Contested Divorce Proceeding?
Contested divorces generally involve major legal issues that need to be resolved. It is highly advisable that you hire a qualified divorce lawyer to assist you during a contested divorce hearing. Your attorney will be able to review any documents and evidence as necessary. Also, your lawyer can be on hand in court to represent you as you appear before a family law judge.
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Last Modified: 04-08-2016 12:12 PM PDT
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