Unfortunately, not all divorces are amicable. When faced with divorce, most couples wish to end their relationship peacefully and respectfully. However, many divorces are full of conflict and hostility. In extreme cases, neither spouse can bear to face one another, and divorce becomes an intense, bitter battle between assets, money, and child custody. This is known as a contested divorce.
Explore contested divorces more below.
What is a Contested Divorce?
When a divorcing couple has disagreements or disputes that need to be resolved through mediation or trial, this is known as a contested divorce. Contested divorces are made up of complicated issues like the division of assets and money, relocation, alimony, child support, and other problems regarding child custody and visitation.
Utah law requires divorcing couples to complete at least one mediation session. However, if the couple cannot resolve their disputes in mediation, the decision will ultimately be determined by the court.
What is the Process for Contested Divorce?
Here is a more in-depth look at a contested divorce process:
- Prepare, file, and serve paperwork
- Respond to petition
- Interview and hire a knowledgeable lawyer
- Discovery takes place (gather information and witnesses, find the facts, subpoenas, etc.)
- Pre-trial motions and hearings
- Proposals and negotiations for settlement between lawyers (the court will encourage spouses to work things out in mediation, though they are often unable to resolve disagreements)
- If settlement/mediation is unsuccessful, begin preparing for trial
- Complete court (present and cross-examine witnesses, present closing arguments. The court will issue a final order recording at the judge’s decisions, and the divorce is finalized)
- If you do not agree with the judge’s decision, appeal
Contested Divorce Tips
Contested divorces take much longer to become finalized than an uncontested divorce, often causing a lot of stress and higher legal fees. However, not all contested divorces need to be a fight to the death; because you and your spouse disagree, it does not mean things need to be unbearably difficult. Here are a few tips for a less complicated contested divorce:
- Be Civil — Surely, you and your spouse will disagree, and, at times, you may feel anger. Try to hold it together and avoid outbursts. Be kind, patient, and respectful.
- Listen — Do not ignore your spouse even when you do not agree with them.
- Be Willing to Compromise — The sooner you understand that you will not walk away with everything you want, the better. Remember, your spouse is not going to get everything they want either.
- Take Advantage of Professionals — Utilize your mediator as they are an impartial third party. Additionally, let your lawyers assist in negotiations.
Contact The Ault Firm
If you have filed for divorce and find yourself disagreeing and disputing with your spouse, it is important to seek the representation and guidance of a contested divorce lawyer to help you navigate this complex process. Our team of experienced attorneys will work for you to protect your rights and interests. If you are in the Salt Lake City or West Jordan areas and need a family law attorney, contact the professionals at The Ault Firm to schedule your consultation today.