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When Should a Couple Have a Contested Divorce?

In legal terms, to “contest” something means you challenge it. For instance, in criminal court, someone can plead “no contest” to a crime. This means they won’t challenge the charges, but they won’t admit to them either.

When it comes to family law, divorce generally has two types. An “uncontested” divorce means that couples agree to all the terms of the divorce.

A “contested” divorce is more unclear. In the most extreme cases, one spouse refuses to accept the divorce. The other spouse must therefore prove that the divorce is necessary in court. This scenario is rare, but it can happen.

Generally, a contested divorce simply means that one spouse is challenging some aspect of the divorce. It then becomes necessary for the court to step in and make a decision for both parties.

Here are five common reasons that couples must take their divorce to court.

  1. Asset Division

In the best-case scenarios, a couple can negotiate a fair property split and move on. Some choose to use a moderator, but they ultimately come to conclusions on their own. If they can’t, then they need someone else to decide what’s right.

Sometimes, asset division is simply too complicated to figure out on your own. This is often the case in high-net marriages. Court is necessary to untangle all the chains of ownership and leave each spouse with a fair split.

Often, spouses must go to court over accusations of deceitful practices. For instance, one spouse believes the other is hiding assets. Spouses can also accuse one another of wasteful dissipation. This is the act of willfully spending marital assets simply to leave the other spouse with less.

  1. Child Custody

Custody can be one of the most contentious parts of any divorce. It may simply be impossible for parents to come to an understanding.

Sometimes, one parent is afraid to leave the kids with the other. They may disagree with the other’s lifestyle choices or parenting style. The other parent could also be unfit, posing a danger to the kids.

Alternatively, a good parent may feel the need to fight for a greater degree of custody. They may want more time with the kids, or physical custody. A parent may also need more decision-making power, known as legal custody.

  1. Child Support and/or Spousal Support

People often can’t agree on support. Perhaps one partner is demanding too much, or the other is being too stingy. When this happens, court becomes necessary.

  1. Domestic Abuse Allegations

Remember, divorce court can be like any other trial. One side can make accusations, and the other must counter them. This includes gathering evidence, presenting witnesses, and so on.

Domestic violence can have a huge impact on a divorce’s outcome. It can affect support, custody, and property division. Moreover, no one wants to be branded an abuser on record. People are likely to deny accusations of domestic abuse, which will likely lead to court.

  1. Simple Stubbornness

There is an old cliché among lawyers that goes, “Criminal court is bad people on their best behavior, and family court is good people on their worst behavior.”

Sometimes, one spouse refuses to go along with anything. Perhaps they are hurt and want revenge, or maybe that’s simply how they operate. Either way, working with this person will be impossible, especially if they have unrealistic expectations for the divorce.

Our firm is here to help when you can’t agree, and you need to attend divorce court. We can build solid arguments in your favor regarding the above issues. For a free consultation, schedule time with us online or call us now at (916) 299-3936