When Spouses Can’t Agree, Divorce Can Be a Costly and Lengthy Ordeal
Ending a marriage is never easy, and when your spouse is contesting the divorce, the experience can be even more challenging. A contested divorce can raise intense emotions, lead to lengthy and bitter disputes, and make the process longer and more expensive.
While you may be unable to stop your spouse from contesting the divorce, you can prepare yourself – emotionally, practically, and financially – for what lies ahead. While the specifics of your final divorce decree may not be known until the case’s conclusion, rest assured that the ultimate outcome of a contested divorce is the dissolution of your marriage and the start of a new chapter in your life.
Here is what you need to know and do if your spouse is contesting the divorce.
What Does Contesting The Divorce Mean?
A contested divorce does not mean that one spouse is fighting the other’s request for a divorce or seeking to keep the marriage together. In Colorado, no spouse can prevent the other from obtaining a divorce. Instead, a contested divorce is one where the parties cannot agree about the significant issues involved in their split, such as child custody and support, spousal maintenance, and property valuation and division.
What Makes a Contested Divorce Different From an Uncontested Divorce?
The quickest and least expensive divorces are those in which the spouses agree on all key provisions that must be contained in the final divorce decree. When everyone agrees to the terms of the divorce, this is called an uncontested divorce.
There is a vast difference between a couple who are civil and can agree on significant issues and a couple who fight over every aspect of their divorce, no matter how small or inconsequential. Spouses who are contesting the divorce will inevitably spend much more money on their lawyers and more time in court than those in the former.
Even in an uncontested divorce, your attorney must ensure that everyone’s financial cards are on the table and that you have addressed all relevant issues. Your attorney will also prepare and submit to the court the filings and agreements needed to begin and end the divorce process.
But the amount of attorney time (and size of attorney bills) in an uncontested divorce pale compared to the fees you will pay to your Colorado Springs divorce lawyers if you and your spouse fight over every possible issue. If your spouse decides to play games with finances, hide assets, or engage in other underhanded tactics, that can also add to your divorce’s stress, duration, and cost.
In a contested divorce, your attorney must file motions and go to court to resolve various conflicts or get access to requested documents and information as the case drags on. If the two of you cannot resolve any or all issues, a trial will need to be held, and the preparation for and conduct of the trial will have your attorney on the clock for countless hours.
How To Deal With A Spouse Who Is Contesting The Divorce
Attempt to Mediate Any Areas of Dispute
As noted, the more items you and your spouse can agree upon, the sooner your divorce ends and the less you will spend on it. Even if the two of you can’t work things out on your own, you may still be able to find common ground through a mediator. In Colorado, mediation is often encouraged to reach a mutually acceptable agreement outside of court when contesting the divorce. While a mediator cannot make binding decisions, they can facilitate productive discussions between you and your spouse and help you reach acceptable compromises that reduce or eliminate disagreements and disputes.
Gather Relevant Documentation
In a contested divorce, the judge will ultimately decide on all of the issues you and your spouse cannot agree on. As in any other case, those rulings are based on the law and facts of the case, including all of the evidence, testimony, and arguments presented by both sides.
You must arm your divorce attorney with all the documentation and information necessary to support your position and convince the judge to rule in your favor. Gather all relevant financial documents, including tax returns, bank statements, pay stubs, and property records. These documents will be critical in determining the division of assets and spousal support. Additionally, if you have children, keep records of all expenses related to their care, which will be important in calculating child support. A Colorado Springs divorce attorney can help you gather these documents and prepare you for what’s next.
Prepare For Child Custody Battles
For parents, issues relating to their child’s future – where they will live and how much time they will spend with each parent – can be the most contentious in a contested divorce. Judges make custody decisions based on the child’s best interests. If you are asking for primary custody of your children, be prepared to provide evidence of your ability to provide them with a stable, safe, and loving environment.
Never Say Never
Just because you and your spouse are at loggerheads today doesn’t mean you can’t eventually reach agreement on critical issues. Keep the door open to the possibility of compromise that could spare you the cost, risk, and emotional ordeal of a trial.
Is Your Spouse Contesting The Divorce? Call Colorado Springs Divorce Attorneys at Perkins Law Today.
Whether you and your soon-to-be-ex are arguing over every issue or have resolved them through agreement and compromise, you should always obtain the advice and guidance of an experienced divorce attorney. An attorney will guide you through the process of contesting the divorce, no matter which side you are on. Your attorney will protect your rights and advocate effectively on your behalf.