When it comes to divorce, there are times when separating couples can mutually agree; however, in just as many if not more cases, one or more issues can lead to a conflict between the parties, necessitating a contested divorce. Understanding what a contested divorce means is incredibly important when separating from a spouse and moving toward ending a marriage.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce
A contested divorce means that at least one of the spouses involved contests one or more of the issues at hand that need to be resolved as a part of the divorce. While an uncontested divorce can happen when both spouses agree on all terms, two spouses choosing to end a committed relationship often cannot agree on things, which is why they wound up in family court to begin with. If all parties can agree, however, uncontested divorces can be processed more quickly than contested divorces.
Despite this, however, it’s important to remember that having a contested divorce is not a bad thing at all – in fact, many divorces are contested. In the event one of the spouses is abusive, has been unfaithful, or is a narcissist, a contested divorce can help ensure the other party’s rights and finances are protected.
Reasons For Contesting a Divorce
Contested issues within a divorce can involve virtually anything that becomes a point of contention between the parties. One might have difficulty deciding how finances should be split, who gets the house, or even child custody rights. There are five main reasons why a Texas divorce lawyer would recommend that you contest your divorce, including:
The Concealment of Assets
Unfortunately, it is fairly common for spouses to hide things from each other during the marriage and when going through a divorce – including items that are financial in nature. When a spouse conceals assets from a court, the judge will not be able to take the value of these items into account when it comes to deciding how to divide the property between the parties. Additionally, such assets may also have an impact on the determination of spousal maintenance, if any, and child support. Because a contested divorce is litigated, it gives each spouse access to discovery tools that can help identify all assets in question, which can help put the parties on a level playing field.
The Best Interests of Children
If parents disagree regarding co-parenting arrangements, a contested divorce is required in order to get a court ruling on custody and/or visitation. This is because a judge is required to make a finding that best serves the best interests of the child or children involved. This process includes the consideration of factors like the emotional and physical needs of the children, each parent’s ability to provide for the children, any past acts or omissions by a parent that could indicate trouble within the parent-child relationship, as well as the wishes of the child or children themselves.
Spousal support is necessary in many situations following a divorce; however, it’s not uncommon for spouses to disagree. In a contested divorce, it must be proved to the court that the party seeking financial support gave up significant opportunities during the marriage. A judge can approve a request for spousal support for a variety of valid reasons, including one of the parties left school to get a job while the other obtained a degree, one spouse suffers from an impairment that leaves them unable to work, or if a spouse cannot work because they are the caregiver for a disabled child.
Abuse in the Marriage
Unfortunately, many divorces involve those who were psychologically or physically abusive to their partner. While divorcing an abusive spouse can bring light at the end of a dark time, it can be difficult, as abusive spouses likely want to interfere with the divorce proceedings as much as possible. Because of this, having an experienced divorce attorney as well as insight from the court in a contested divorce can help ensure all items are accounted for without interference from the abusive party.
Spouse is Unwilling to Compromise and Has Unrealistic Expectations
In the event a spouse assumes they are entitled to unreasonable terms, a contested divorce is in the best interests of both sides. It is impossible to resolve all related family law issues with someone unwilling to compromise or negotiate. Pursuing a contested divorce may be cumbersome; however, it helps avoid an incredibly one-sided and/or unfair divorce settlement.
Brazoria County Divorce Attorneys
Whether contested or uncontested, a divorce is an incredibly arduous process to go through. While uncontested divorces can be processed without much forethought, a contested divorce can help to ensure the concerns of each spouse are addressed with the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney. At Terry & Roberts, our Brazoria County family lawyers work with clients to establish their goals in order to reach the best possible outcome for both parents and children. If you are filing for divorce, contact our office today for more information on how we can assist you.