You’ve decided it’s time to get a divorce, and your emotions are high. You’re boiling mad, in fact. You and your ex-to-be cannot agree on just about anything. This amount of conflict may lead you down a path towards a contested divorce, meaning you cannot mutually agree on the terms of a divorce and you wind up in family court so a judge can determine the terms. Uncontested divorces work better for couples who have little to no assets and no children, or couples who agree amicably on how to divide their assets or who will have legal and physical custody of any children they may have, as well as how much child support is appropriate.
While an uncontested divorce is almost invariably less expensive, less contentious, and settled more quickly, it’s important to know that contesting your divorce isn’t a bad thing, at all. In fact, many people have contested divorces, especially if they cite abuse, adultery, cruelty, abandonment, or other types of poor treatment in the marriage that negatively impacted their rights and/or finances. There are good – and, of course, not as good – reasons to contest your marriage.
Good Reasons to Contest a Divorce
Concealments of Assets
Everyone wants what they consider their fair share when their marriage ends. Unfortunately, many parting spouses get too greedy and hide things from each other went their union goes sour, including financial assets. When one of the spouses conceals assets from the court, the judge will not be able to take the value of these items and decide hot to divide them between the parties. That means they will have no bearing in the determination of spousal maintenance or child support. However, because a contested divorce is litigated, it gives each spouse access to the discovery process to help identify all assets, which can put both exes on a more level playing field.
Spousal maintenance is a common bone of contention when marriages dissolve. In contested divorces, it must be proved to the court that the spouse seeking financial support gave up significant opportunities throughout the marriage, such as leaving school to get a job while the other spouse obtained a degree, or if one spouse acts as a caregiver for a disabled child. A judge may approve alimony requests for a number of valid reasons.
Spouse is unwilling to compromise on divorce terms
Sometimes an ex is simply unwilling to play fair and be reasonable. In that case, you don’t have to bowl over and give them what they want just because they demand it. If they are unwilling to compromise or negotiate, pursuing a contested divorce may be your best bet to avoid an incredibly one-sided, unfair divorce settlement, and even though it is a lengthier process, it’ll be worth it in the end when the terms are more equitable.
The best interests of your children
Parents who disagree on the terms of a divorce will often disagree on co-parenting arrangements, as well, such as child custody, support, and/or visitation. The family court judge will rule on what is in the best interests of the involved children by considering factors like their emotional and physical needs, each parent’s ability to provide for their children, each parent’s relationship with their children, as well as the wishes of the children themselves.
Not-So-Good-Reasons to Contest Your Divorce
If you want to get what you want in the divorce and make a big show about it, contesting your divorce isn’t necessarily the answer. It’s understandable your emotions are high and you want everyone to know you’re upset. But an uncontested divorce is often the quicker, less agonizing way to end your marriage. That doesn’t mean going the “uncontested” route is less emotional or challenging, it simply means you were able to agree on the terms of your divorce without a judge having to make the rulings. Unless you’re willing to go through a lengthier divorce that can drag on for months, even years, you may not want to pursue a contested divorce. The legal complexities and combative nature of a contested divorce will keep you at odds with your estranged spouse for an extended period of time, when you likely just want to get them out of your life. Ask your divorce attorney whether contested or uncontested divorce proceedings would be better for you.
Contact Our Law Firm to Determine Whether a Contested or Uncontested Divorce Is the Right Choice for You
Are you wondering whether you should pursue a contested or uncontested divorce? Palmer Rodak & Associates is a family law firm with a staff that has 60+ years of combined legal experience. Our firm has proudly served the San Diego area for decades.
We want you to be 100% confident in your attorney, and that’s why we offer free consultations with our team. To request yours, dial (760) 573-2223 to make your appointment with Palmer Rodak & Associates or reach out online today.