What Creates a Contested Divorce, and How Do You Avoid It?

In an uncontested divorce, the spouses settle all financial and parenting issues between themselves and jointly ask the court to dissolve the marriage on no-fault grounds. But when the spouses have significant differences over property division, child custody, visitation rights, child support or spousal support, the court must decide these issues, which makes the divorce contested. The case goes onto a different court-management track, with schedules established for conducting discovery, taking testimony and eventually going to trial.

A contested divorce can be lengthy, expensive and frustrating, and in the end neither spouse may achieve the most favorable results they seek. It is usually in the couple’s joint interests to keep the divorce on an uncontested track. The following are some practical courses of action you can take:

  • Negotiate or seek mediation — You should be represented by your own divorce attorney, whose emphasis should be on working out a solution to the issues that would otherwise require court intervention. The ideal outcome is for you, your spouse and your respective attorneys to achieve a settlement through negotiation. However, if you can’t, you may turn to a divorce mediator, a neutral person trained to help spouses reach agreement on contested issues.
  • Set settlement goals — Focusing on the big picture is vital to achieving resolutions. Decide on the optimal outcome you would like to obtain in terms of property division, support and parenting arrangements, but also decide on the minimum you really need and what you can afford to concede. In doing so, you should also consider what’s important to your spouse and determine how much of their priorities you’re willing to meet.
  • Maintain a constructive attitude — Although you have disagreements with your spouse, you don’t need to be disagreeable. Don’t raise objections over unimportant things. Even when you feel you need to stand your ground, keep an even tone and avoid angry words. Give your spouse an opportunity to speak their mind and respond calmly in a way that makes it clear you’ve heard what they have to say. Whenever possible, strive to reach a reasoned compromise.

You can count on the Law Office of Maurice J. Verrillo, P.C. in Rochester, New York to represent you with skill and compassion, whether your divorce is uncontested or contested. Please call us at 585-563-1134 or contact us online for a free consultation.


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