There are two kinds of divorces – contested and uncontested. A contested divorce is one in which the parties cannot reach agreement about the terms of the divorce, such as division of assets, allocation of debts, alimony, child support, or child custody. In this situation, the parties ask a court to resolve some or all of the issues. Often couples will begin the process of a contested divorce and then, at some point before trial, reach agreement between them. Once an agreement is reached, the case is “settled” and will proceed to final Judgment as an “uncontested” divorce. Reaching a settlement is always preferable to having the court determine your fate. The terms of the settlement will be written and submitted to the court for the Judge’s review and if approved, it will become a part of the final Divorce Judgment.
Out Of Court Settlements
Most judges and lawyers prefer to “settle out of court” in an uncontested fashion. If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on your own, an experienced divorce attorney or experienced mediator, can assist to help you reach an amicable settlement. It is not recommended that either spouse attempt to represent him or herself in a contested divorce, without the oversight and support of a qualified professional, where the complexities of the issues are too significant for the untrained, average person, to address effectively. The financial and emotional repercussions of acting as your own lawyer in a contested divorce case can be devastating.
Filing A Divorce Complaint.
Every divorce, contested or uncontested, begins with the filing of a divorce Complaint and serving it on the other party. Automatic Court orders will take effect also upon the service of the divorce Complaint; these Orders should be adhered to by both parties. Issues may arise during the divorce proceeding that require a hearing before the Court to establish temporary orders to provide for support until the divorce is final. A contested divorce may take several months to complete. While the divorce is pending each party’s contested divorce attorney will likely request “discovery” from the other party in an attempt to identify property and assets, debts and liabilities, and gather information about other important issues. Discovery may include such items as income tax returns, earnings statements, investment records, bank statements, deeds or titles to property, business records, and credit card statements and other financial documents and information. Alternatively, in an uncontested divorce, this discovery process it may not be necessary to produce and exchange these documents.
Contested Divorces Are Very Common.
Contested divorces are more common overall, particularly among couples who have been together for a long period of time, have children and/or have a substantial amount invested in property together. Disputes during divorce proceedings tend to be related to financial and child custody issues. Speak with an experienced contested divorce attorney about a contested divorce. The stakes can be high and once a complaint for divorce is filed; there are deadlines that must be met in order to avoid giving up important rights.
Family Law Issues Handled in Fairfield County
The Law Offices of Judith Goldberg may be able to assist you with the following legal issues: