A divorce can often be emotionally exhausting, especially if it is contested. A contested divorce is one marked by disagreement between the two spouses over certain issues related to the separation, or to the divorce itself. In this case, the couple typically asks a judge to decide how their divorce should be settled. The opposite of this type of divorce is an “uncontested” or “mutual consent” divorce in which both sides agree on every aspect of the separation. An experienced family law attorney can help you if you’re going through a contested divorce.
Contested Divorce Disagreements
Spouses who are going through a contested divorce may disagree on all or only few issues, including alimony (spousal support), child support, and the division of assets (especially high net-worth assets). Disagreement on simply one of these issues is enough to qualify your divorce as “contested.” Aside from a lack of agreement, one of the most notable differences between contested and uncontested divorces is the duration and cost of the legal process. Even though the cost of filing is generally the same regardless of the type of divorce, you will likely spend more money on attorney fees, and those of experts if needed, if your divorce is contested.
An experienced Maryland divorce attorney can offer recommendations to obtain the best possible outcome for your case. They should also be able to clearly explain your legal rights in your divorce case, remain non-judgemental, and advocate for you as a spouse (and parent, if applicable) by presenting sufficient evidence to the court.
Contested Divorce Process Steps
After choosing the right attorney for your case, there are multiple steps your spouse, you, and your attorney will complete, including:
- Preparing, filing, and delivering (serving) the divorce petition, which is the legal document used to request the divorce and explain the reasons for the dissolution of your marriage (abusive behavior, infidelity, irreconcilable differences, etc.)
- Responding to this document
- Participating in “divorce discovery,” the phase that involves collecting information from both your spouse and witnesses
- Pre-trial hearings and legal motions
In short, once underway, the settlement stage can begin during which both attorneys will negotiate for a mutual agreement. If this is not achieved, the matter will go to court to be presented to the judge. Depending on the cited cause for divorce, this may include witness testimony and cross-examination. Once the trial has ended, the court will issue a final order of dissolution and the divorce will be finalized.
Speak To The Experienced Contested Divorce Attorneys
Contact the experienced attorneys at SIEGELLAW in Ellicott City, Maryland for assistance with a contested divorce. Our attorneys have over 30 years of experience handling many different types of divorce cases, including in court, out of court settlements, mediation, and other forms of dispute resolution. Our attorneys are also well-versed in Maryland state laws regarding contested divorces, which require both adversarial proof and evidence of grounds of divorce.
Call SIEGELLAW today at (410) 792-2300 or contact us online to schedule a initial consultation with one of our attorneys or to learn more about our services.