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What is a Contested Divorce?

What is a Contested Divorce?

Each divorce is unique to the history, relationship, and factors of a couple. However, when it comes down to it, there are really two kinds of divorce. Those are contested and uncontested divorces

Are you wondering what is a contested divorce? If so, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will define a contested divorce, how the process works, and more on what it means for you.

What Is A Contested Divorce?

Despite one’s hopes, conflict can prove inevitable in divorce. Common conflict may occur over property and asset division issues, child support, child custody, spousal support or alimony, and so on. In short, it concerns everything that both spouses have together. 

A contested divorce is one where one or both spouses cannot agree on certain things in the divorce case. 

One case of this may occur when one spouse disagrees about whether a divorce is even necessary.

Another case occurs if both spouses want a divorce but cannot settle on decisions and issues regarding property and asset division issues, child support, child custody, spousal support or alimony. That is also considered a contested divorce. 

This type of divorce is often more complex, more expensive and takes longer than one that is uncontested.

More on Contested Divorce Process

As mentioned, the contested divorce process is lengthy and requires significant resources and money. It often costs more than an uncontested divorce because there are more steps in the process from start to finish. Additionally, these steps often require an attorney to help you through the process and look out for your best interests.

An average contested divorce in the United States costs $10,600. This price is dependent on the number of unresolved issues, the more expensive it gets. We will paint a couple of those scenarios for you here:

First, child and alimony related issues can increase your costs up to around $16,000. 

Second, a divorce that goes to trial for a single-issue costs $20,379 and two or more issues in a trial can cost $23,300. 

Third, hiring a divorce lawyer to sort through your case starts at a rate of $175 per hour. Typically this will fall between $175/hour to $325/hour. 

What are the Steps for a Contested Divorce?

Now that you are aware that a contested divorce has more steps, what are these steps, anyway? Here is a comprehensive list of the typical steps you will need to take:

  • Look for/hire a divorce lawyer
  • Prepare, file, and serve your divorce forms (if you are the one filing)
  • Respond to the forms serve to you (if you are the defendant)
  • Gather information about legal procedures to obtain info from your spouse and/or third-party witnesses
  • Undergo pre-trial legal motions and hearings
  • Participate in negotiations between attorneys regarding disputed issues
  • (Should the negotiations fail) Prepare for a court trial
  • Complete the court trial
  • File an appeal, if one spouse disagrees with the results

And, that’s the general procedure how this process works. Depending on where you live and the specifics of your situation, things may vary a bit.

In order to avoid all of this, it is recommended to resolve any issues between you and your spouse before filing for a divorce, if that is possible. It could save you time, energy, and money. 

We hope this information was helpful and answered some of your questions about contested divorce.