4 Ways a Divorce Might Become Contested

A divorce will be considered either contested, or uncontested, depending on whether the separating couple is able to negotiate and come to an agreement on all the essential steps of a divorce. Many people are surprised to learn that most divorces are actually uncontested, and the details of the divorce are worked out between the couple and a mediator or other third party rather than a judge. There are times, however, where a divorce that starts out uncontested can become contested. This blog outlines some of the things that can cause this to happen.

1. The Couple Can’t Come to an Agreement on Key Issues

There are times when both couples want opposite things on a number of important issues. While it may be possible to negotiate trivial items in the divorce, it is much harder to settle disputes about child custody, child support, spousal support, who gets the home, and other items. If both parties make an honest attempt to negotiate but they just can’t come to an agreement, it may be necessary to enter a contested divorce.

2. There Is Too Much Conflict

Some couples have so much animosity between them that it is impossible to come to any agreement on anything. Even having them both in a room together leads to fighting and arguing, which is not productive at all. While it almost always makes sense to at least attempt an uncontested divorce, these scenarios usually lead to the courtroom.

3. The Couple Needs Help on a Few Contentious Issues

Even if both parties in the divorce are civil and have good intentions, it is possible that there will be some issues that they simply can’t overcome on their own or with the help of arbitration. For example, if both parties want to keep a cottage that they jointly own and they have tried all reasonable negotiation strategies but can’t come to an agreement, they may end up in a contested divorce for that specific issue. It is possible to agree on all aspects of a divorce except a few key ones, and have the courts step in to look only at those issues.

4. Unhappy with the Results

After having gone through mediation, if one (or both) of the parties are very dissatisfied with the results, they can always contest them and pursue a contested divorce. This should only be done in serious situations since it will cause the overall cost of the divorce, and the length of time it takes to complete, to go up significantly.

Having an Attorney at Your Side

If you are going through a divorce, you will want to have an attorney at your side to help protect your legal interests. Even in an uncontested divorce, an attorney will be able to help you every step of the way. This includes letting you know when it is time to give up on an uncontested divorce and move the process into the courtroom. Please contact us to discuss your situation and learn how we can help.

Written by John M. Totten

John M. Totten

John's office is in Athens, Alabama, where he has helped thousands of people in North Alabama with everything from family law issues, to catastrophic injury and death cases, to criminal defense.