Article for a Divorce Lawyer

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By: Jonathan Chatfield

 

What is a “Contested Divorce?” Read on and we will give you all the information you need to know!

It’s The Little Things

Relationships can be tricky because they all require effort. Friendships and romantic relationships alike need some level of compromise. Their success or failure will affect everyone involved. In a perfect world, all our relationships would be successful. When it comes to marriage, it is especially important that it be successful, because there is so much at stake. There are many considerations, such as property and assets, and often there are children and their welfare to consider.

Sometimes, due to irreconcilable differences and despite attempts at counseling, divorce is the only remaining option. Divorce is never pleasant, but, many proceedings go smoothly. Both parties get what they want, and everyone agrees on the equitable distribution of assets or jointly owned property.

There are situations, however, when agreements can not be reached. One spouse or the other may feel they are not receiving the appropriate consideration. There are many decisions concerning property, assets or even child custody and visitation to consider. Unresolved issues regarding the end of the marriage can lead to a “Contested Divorce.”

Let’s look at some of the more common facts about contested divorce in Florida.

We Can Work It Out

In some marriages, one spouse is content while the other is miserable. When the unhappy partner files for divorce, it may come as quite a shock to the other. Divorce may be the last thing the unsuspecting spouse wants, and thus it would be considered a contested divorce. Reasons to contest a divorce can be varied.

Maybe, for example, the Husband tells the courts that they have been living in separate houses for the past 18 months. Not wanting the divorce, the Wife could file a counter-claim that during that time there was intimacy, or that they had reconciled their differences.

Alternatively, the Wife may say that the Husband was at fault for infidelity or some other transgression. The Husband can deny these allegations ever occurred. Either partner can contest a divorce, even if filed on no-fault grounds claiming an irretrievably broken marriage.

In Florida, a judge may opt to put divorce proceedings on hold, and order both parties to attend counseling. If the spouse who filed STILL wants the divorce after counseling, then the court will typically allow the proceedings to continue. No laws exist in Florida that would require you to live in any place yo do not wish to live.

I lost Everything in the Divorce

In a Divorce, one spouse may feel they are not getting what they deserve. Alternatively, there may be factors affecting the divorce like alimony, child support or custody, or even property division. Perhaps both parties agree to almost every stipulation in the divorce, save who gets the house. The Divorce remains contested until it is meeting all requirements.

Often some issues need immediate resolution. Waiting until the divorce is final to address them, is not an option. With children involved, for example, there may be an immediate need for child support. Filing a “Request for Temporary Relief” would stipulate guidelines for that support in the interim. If granted, these orders will last until the divorce is final.

Can’t we talk about this?

Judges may require couples attend mediation sessions before ruling on unresolved issues. Mediation is when you hire a third party to help you try to reach a settlement on the contested points of a divorce.

It’s In The Details

Often, one party requires accurate information from the other. Without access to all the facts, a judge can not rule justly. This information is requested in a process called “Discovery.” Although not required, if you make a discovery request your spouse must comply and provide the information. Items typically required are things like financial statements, depositions, or interrogatories.

Going before The Judge

Once you have gone through all of the phases mentioned above, if you still haven’t resolved all the contested issues, your case may go to trial. More often than not, cases are settled after mediation, or at some point between mediation and the actual date set for the trial. No one wants to go through a messy and emotional trial, so it is in everyone’s best interest to settle all of their issues before it gets that far.

Closing Arguments

Divorce is a messy business. It is an emotional process and one that can be tedious. It can also go smoothly and quickly. The latter is always the preferred course. But, when you have all the facts about contested divorce in Florida, you can go into the proceedings with confidence.

It is always a good idea to secure representation that is knowledgeable and has your best interests in mind. Contact the Law Offices of Alan J. Braverman, P.A. with any questions or to schedule a consultation.

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