Contested Divorce Lawyers in Atlanta Offering a Helping Hand When a Contested Divorce Occurs
While you may not think it’s possible, there are some situations in which couples can amicably get through the divorce process. This means they agree to divorce and can easily reach an agreement regarding all aspects of property division, child custody, child support, and alimony. However, as many would think, some divorce cases become highly contested.
A contested divorce can make an already difficult situation seemingly insurmountable. This often occurs when the non-filing spouse contests the divorce, and it can lead to a long, strenuous, and expensive process. It is vital to recognize what options you have should you file for divorce and your spouse contests it.
When a divorce is contested, it means one party does not agree to the divorce, or they do not agree with specific terms of the divorce. In some cases, the spouse may contest the grounds for the divorce itself. In other cases, they may take issue with child custody, visitation, or support arrangements. Property division may also be disputed.
If you are facing a contested divorce in Atlanta, you need an experienced family law attorney on your side. At Atlanta Family Law Group LLC, we understand how difficult this time can be, and we are here to help you every step of the way. Give us a call at 404-738-5805 to speak with a lawyer about your situation.
What is the Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce?
Before we discuss your rights in a contested divorce, it’s important to know the differences between a contested and uncontested divorce. Recognizing the differences can help you understand what to discuss with your lawyer and what you may need help figuring out in the process.
Many people believe that if both parties want to end the marriage, it is an uncontested divorce. That is not the case. Here are the differences between the two:
- Uncontested Divorce: In an uncontested divorce, both parties have discussed the factors of a divorce and what they both want. Typically, this means they have come up with a plan in which both parties agree on all four of the major factors of divorce. They have agreed upon a child custody plan, a child support payment option, matters of alimony, and property division. However, one common misconception that people have is that legal counsel is not necessary for an uncontested divorce. It’s still valuable to have a legal professional review your agreement to determine if it’s fair to both sides.
- Contested Divorce: As the name applies, a contested divorce is any divorce in which the two parties involved cannot agree on all the material terms of the divorce. Regardless of how serious the contention is or what drives it, the divorce will remain “contested” if there is still a disagreement on any material term of the divorce resolution and until a judge can decide on the issues of the divorce.
What is the Process of a Contested Divorce
If you are going through a contested divorce, the process may look different than what you thought. The first thing that will happen is one spouse will file a petition for divorce with the court.
Once this is filed, the other spouse will receive notification of the filing via the service of process. This notice will include information on how to respond to the petition and what deadlines they must meet to do so. Once the spouse has been served, they will have 30 days to file an answer if they reside in Georgia or 60 days if they live out of state.
If they do not file an answer, the court may grant a default divorce, meaning the divorce will go through as if they do not contest it. If they do file an answer, the next step is discovery. This is the process of gathering evidence and information about the case. This may include financial documents, emails, text messages, social media messages, and more. After discovery is complete, both sides will enter into settlement negotiations.
If they are unable to agree during this time, they may move on to mediation. In mediation, a third-party mediator will help both sides come to an agreement. If mediation does not work, the next step is a trial. This is where both sides present their evidence and arguments to a judge, who will then make a ruling on the divorce.
Why do Divorces Become Contested?
There are many reasons that one party may contest a divorce, or both parties fail to agree on the important aspects of the divorce. Below, we’ll explain what typically causes one spouse to avoid an agreement and what can be done when it happens.
When one spouse is angry at the other for filing for divorce or leaving the marriage, or because of another reason, their emotions may get the best of them. Instead of giving in on certain aspects of a divorce, they use every phase to argue about who gets what, making it a lengthy process.
Alimony and child support are two of the biggest areas of contention in a divorce. The spouse set to receive support may want more because they are unsure of where they will be financially after a divorce. The spouse set to pay support may want to pay less because they feel the other spouse can earn an income. Regardless of the circumstances, financial concerns can make an agreement difficult to create.
Actions done to spite someone are not uncommon in divorce. One party may be so mad that they want to take as much as possible from the other spouse, so they argue and fight for the sake of dragging out the litigation. If either spouse is unwilling to budge or if the demands of the angry party are unreasonable, this can make it nearly impossible to come up with an agreement.
How can an Attorney Help Me Move Past a Contested Divorce?
There are a few different things that can encourage couples to get through a contested divorce much quicker and easier than they typically would. It starts with creating a reason to get through challenging aspects of the divorce. For instance, you can explain the costs and length of a contested divorce and how it is unfavorable to you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse to continue arguing about certain factors.
You may also consider a settlement conference or mediation to come up with an agreement before bringing your case to a judge. This can be a more affordable method and allows you to work together in a controlled environment to come up with a plan regarding your divorce that is the most beneficial to both parties.
If you’re involved in a contested divorce, you need to protect your rights as best as possible. At Atlanta Family Law Group LLC, our priority is helping you walk out of this situation with the most favorable outcome for you and your family.
It can be difficult to endure a contested divorce, but with our Atlanta contested divorce lawyers on your side, you can feel peace of mind throughout the entire process. We’ll be your guides from start to finish, providing the compassionate yet aggressive counsel you need to move forward. If you or someone you know is facing a contested divorce, contact us today at 404-738-5805 to discuss how we may be able to help you protect your assets and relationships with your children.