When spouses decide to divorce, most people want the quickest resolution that satisfies both parties. Some couples mutually agree on the separation of assets, debt, and child custody, while others just can’t see eye to eye.
Those couples who can’t seem to resolve their difference of opinion may find that a contested divorce is the only viable option. But is filing for a contested divorce actually worth the additional time and stress it inevitably involves? Read on to find out when it may be worth contesting a divorce.
How Does a Contested Divorce Differ From an Uncontested Divorce?
A contested divorce means that one or both parties involved in the case disputes at least one of the issues that must be resolved during the divorce. An uncontested divorce, on the other hand, means that both parties involved in the case agree on all terms. But while uncontested divorces are certainly possible, most couples who choose to end their marriage have trouble seeing eye to eye on at least a few things.
Filing for a contested divorce isn’t inherently bad — many, many divorces are contested — but the case will require more time than an uncontested case. Contested divorces can also be considerably more stressful and emotionally trying than their uncontested counterparts.
However, despite the stress and time commitment involved, contesting your divorce may truly be the best option for you if your spouse was unfaithful, abusive, or otherwise highly challenging to deal with. A contested divorce can help you protect both your finances and your rights in the case.
Why Should You Contest a Divorce?
There are several reasons contesting a divorce may be in your best interest. While disputes can arise for virtually any reason during a divorce, there are certain situations in which disagreeing with your spouse may be far better than taking the faster, uncontested route. Here are some examples.
Interests of Children
If you and your spouse have children and disagree on the way co-parenting should work, you must contest the divorce to get a court ruling on child custody or visitation rights. A judge must determine what’s in the best interest of your children and will take several factors into consideration to reach a decision.
The court will consider each parent’s ability to provide for the children and any emotional or physical needs your children may have, as well as past acts or omissions by one or both parents that may signify a rocky parent-child relationship. The judge will also take your children’s wishes into account when determining a custody agreement.
Concealment of Assets
If your spouse is concealing assets from the court, the judge cannot take those assets into consideration when determining the separation of community property. Concealment of assets can also have a significant impact on the court’s determination of spousal maintenance and child support if you’re seeking those things.
If you truly believe your spouse is concealing assets, filing for a contested divorce will give you access to discovery tools to find out whether that’s indeed true. Identifying any concealed assets will help ensure that your property is fairly divided and that you get fair financial support for yourself or your children, if necessary.
Spousal Abuse During the Marriage
During divorce proceedings, physically or psychologically abusive spouses are often willing to go to great lengths to interfere with the process. Trying to navigate separation and divorce from an abusive spouse can be a very challenging and scary experience, which is why it’s in your best interest to hire an experienced Texas divorce attorney for legal help.
A knowledgeable attorney can ensure your rights are protected throughout your case and provide the counsel and support necessary to minimize spousal interference.
Many people require spousal support following a divorce, but because spousal maintenance requires one party to give the other party financial assistance, many spouses disagree. In a contested divorce, the judge will determine whether spousal support is indeed necessary and what that figure and timeframe should look like.
The judge can approve a spousal support request for several reasons, including:
Unrealistic Expectations and Refusal to Compromise
If one party has unreasonable expectations and flat-out refuses to negotiate on those terms, a contested divorce is likely in the best interests of both parties. It’s virtually impossible to resolve property separation, child custody issues, and other divorce terms without the cooperation of both parties. A contested divorce can ensure both parties avoid an unfair settlement of their case.
Schedule a Divorce Consultation With Setzer Law Firm
If you’re considering a contested divorce, our team at Setzer Law Firm in Colleyville can help you protect your assets and rights throughout your case. To schedule a consultation with a member of our team, feel free to give us a call today at 817-767-1865 or contact us online, and we’ll be in touch.