If you and your spouse are not able to agree on divorce issues such as alimony, child custody, debt allocation or property division, it is called a contested divorce.
A contested divorce case usually takes longer to resolve than an uncontested one and is more expensive. But it can be avoided if the parties can agree on certain issues such as the division of assets and custody of children prior to the trial date.
The Court Orders
A contested divorce occurs when a couple cannot agree on issues such as child custody, spousal support, property division and debt allocation. These disagreements can lead to court intervention in order for the couple to come to a settlement agreement that is fair and equitable.
Contested divorces usually take longer than uncontested ones and can be more expensive to resolve. However, if the parties can agree on all of the divorce issues, they may be able to reach a settlement before the case goes to trial.
During the first hearing of a contested divorce, a judge will hear evidence from both sides and make rulings about these issues. The judge may also require the parties to hire and pay for experts such as accountants, forensic accountants, pension analysts, employment experts or appraisers to evaluate the value of their assets.
Preparing for the Hearing
It is important to prepare for the hearing as well as possible. This will help ensure that you are prepared to answer the judge’s questions and make a strong case for your side of the case.
The first step is to prepare all of the documents and evidence you will be presenting to the judge. This includes obtaining copies from the other party and having them available when the hearing begins.
You should also have your witnesses prepared and be ready to ask them questions. Be sure to choose witnesses who are not your spouse or relatives and are not biased toward you or your case.
You should also try to get a good night’s sleep before the hearing. This will give you more energy and focus to get through the day.
The Judge’s Decision
The Judge will consider all the evidence and make a decision about your case.
You can expect a written order from the court after the judge makes his or her decision. The judge may write the order right away or tell you that he or she will consider it later.
Regardless of what happens at your first hearing, it is important to be prepared and follow the instructions of your attorney. Your attorney is going to tell the judge why you are entitled to what you’re asking for.
When dividing assets and debts, the judge has special requirements about how he or she weighs the evidence and decides on what to do. Often, this requires the use of a property appraiser or a business evaluator to assess the value of the assets.
The Final Order
A final order is an important part of the contested divorce process. The judge may decide spousal support, child custody, and other issues.
It is also possible for the court to approve a settlement agreement. This can be an excellent way to settle the case without the stress of a trial.
If the spouses agree to all terms of a final order, a judge will approve the agreement. However, if the parties disagree about any of the terms in the final order, they can still ask the court to reconsider the decision or hold a hearing.
Once the court has approved a final order, the couple is divorced and can move forward with their lives. Both spouses will receive a copy of the final order and must follow the terms.