Getting divorced is never easy. Building a life with someone, only to watch it crumble, can take a steep emotional and physical toll. This is especially true if your divorce proceedings aren’t entirely amicable. When spouses cannot agree on the terms of their separation, it is known as a “contested divorce.” Often, these divorces can be extremely stressful or tense. But, what does it mean to have a contested divorce in Florida?
What is a Contested Divorce?
A contested divorce is the most difficult of all divorce proceedings. Simply put, it involves a situation where both parties fail to agree on one, or many, separate issues. Contested divorces vary significantly from uncontested divorces because in an uncontested divorce both parties have reached an amicable agreement on all issues relating to the end of their marriage and separation of their assets, as well as child custody arrangements.
Contested divorces don’t necessarily mean that the two parties involved in the divorce disagree on every aspect of their separation, nor does it imply any negative feelings. Rather, it may simply mean they do not see eye-to-eye on any number of issues, which must be mediated.
The Contested Divorce Procedure
Unlike uncontested divorces, which are straightforward, contested divorces require spouses to go through a number of steps to reach finalization of their divorce. Often, these steps are fraught with greater stress and legal costs.
The procedure for a contested divorce usually follows the following pattern, although exact proceedings vary depending upon the individual circumstances of each divorce:
- Preparing, filing and serving the divorce petition.
- The other party responding to the petition.
- The process of interviewing and hiring an attorney.
- Discovery – the information gathering process, which involves various legal procedures to get information from your spouse and any third-party witnesses. These can include written questions, subpoenas, and depositions.
- Any pre-trial legal motions and hearings.
- Should proposals fail, any preparations for a trial.
- The trial proceedings.
- Any appeals to the decisions reached by the judge.
During the course of the trial, both parties will be encouraged by the presiding judge to reach an amicable agreement wherever possible. However, if this is not possible, they will determine the outcome of any disagreements. These rulings may be appealed against by either party.
As contested divorces can take a significant amount of time to complete, the courts allow parties to request what is known as temporary relief. Under temporary relief, spouses may request short-term assistance with child support, alimony, or time-sharing agreements. Temporary relief is especially important if there are children involved in the divorce, allowing both parents to ensure that the emotional and financial needs of the children are addressed.
Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney Today
If you are considering divorce, you need to contact an experienced attorney right away. As contested divorces can be difficult situations to navigate, you need an attorney who knows how to get you the results you want and need. Patrick Cordero has extensive experience in all facets of law, including family and financial law. Call The Law Offices of Patrick L. Cordero for a free consultation today at (305) 445-4855.