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What Is a Contested Divorce?

contested divorce couple

Even couples who are going through an amicable divorce will likely not agree on all issues that arise during the divorce process. If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement on major issues like child support, alimony, and the equitable distribution of marital property, the situation can become more complicated and contentious. While you may have hoped to reach an agreement on these issues in a productive and respectful manner, that may not be possible if you and your spouse are no longer able to communicate effectively and set aside your differences. A highly skilled divorce lawyer will walk you through every step of a contested divorce, address all of your questions and concerns and pursue the best possible divorce settlement.   

What Is the Difference Between a Contested and an Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce is one where both spouses are able to reach an agreement on all of the issues related to their divorce. In most cases, this type of divorce is considerably less expensive and time-consuming because both spouses are able to avoid ongoing negotiations, court hearings and the legal fees associated with a trial, discovery and other legal procedures. In addition, couples who go through an uncontested divorce tend to maintain a more positive and respectful relationship going forward, which is beneficial when children involved. If you find that you are having trouble resolving certain issues, but you are committed to an uncontested divorce, you may want to consider participating in mediation, where a neutral third-party will facilitate a conversation between you and your spouse and help you reach an agreement on your outstanding issues.

A contested divorce is more complicated, time-consuming, and expensive because there are issues that the couple is unable to resolve. As a result, the case is filed in court. Both spouses’ attorneys spend months or more collecting evidence, talking to witnesses, and negotiating settlements for their clients. In addition to the time and expense associated with a contested divorce, the contentious nature of a contested divorce can cause irreparable harm to the couples’ relationship, making it very difficult to communicate about parenting and custody issues.

What Are the Most Common Reasons for Contested Divorces?

There are many reasons why a couple is faced with a contested divorce, including the following:

  • Concealment of assets. When a divorce becomes contentious, it is not uncommon for spouses to try to hide assets so that they are not subject to the equitable distribution of marital property. Hiding assets will also impact the amount of spousal support and child support that the spouse is responsible for paying.
  • Spousal maintenance. Spouses might have a contested divorce because they cannot agree on the amount of spousal support they are eligible to pay or receive. For example, the party seeking support must prove they gave up significant opportunities over the course of the marriage. A court may approve a request for spousal support for a number of reasons, including supporting the other spouse financially while they went back to school, a spouse is unable to work due to a disability, or if a spouse is the primary caregiver for a disabled child.
  • Parenting and custody issues. When parents cannot reach an agreement about important custody and parenting issues, a contested divorce may be necessary to resolve these issues and ensure that the children’s best interests are protected.
  • Abuse. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for an abusive spouse to interfere with divorce proceedings and complicate the process. Whether the abuse was physical, emotional, or both, contesting the divorce is a way of controlling the situation and not giving the abused spouse what they want.
  • Spouse is unwilling to compromise. Ultimately, a contested divorce will result if one or both spouses will not compromise or believe that they are entitled to unreasonable terms.

Whitehouse Station Divorce Lawyers at Tune Law Group, LLC, Assist Clients with Contested Divorces

If you and your spouse are getting divorced, and you are unable to reach a resolution on a number of important issues, the Whitehouse Station divorce lawyers at Tune Law Group, LLC will assist you with your contested divorce. We will protect your legal rights. To schedule an initial consultation, call us today at 908-434-1061 or contact us online. Our office is located in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, where we serve clients in but not limited to Tewksbury, Hunterdon County, Monmouth County, Morris County, and Warren County.  

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