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What Makes a Divorce Contested?

If you’re considering filing for separation from your spouse, you may have questions regarding the procedures for a contested and uncontested divorce. You might also be concerned if you’re in the process of a contested divorce and worried about losing your property. At Mahoney Richmond Thurston PLLC., we are committed to helping you understand contested divorces and what this means for you and your spouse. Our trusted attorneys are here to help you during the divorce proceedings and can answer any questions you may have. 

What is the Difference Between an Uncontested and Contested Divorce? 

Depending on the compliance of each spouse during the legal process, a divorce will be labeled as either uncontested or contested. An uncontested divorce is one in which both spouses agree to all aspects of the divorce, and neither one tries to stop the divorce proceedings. Uncontested divorces typically resolve faster than contested divorces, thus making it much more cost-efficient for both spouses. 

A contested divorce is the opposite of an uncontested divorce, in that, at least one spouse does not agree upon aspects of the divorce. This non-compliance can drag out the divorce process and become costly for both individuals. Individuals in a contested divorce may disagree upon one or several aspects of their divorce including but not limited to:

  1. Child custody arrangements and support 
  2. Division of property 
  3. Financial Responsibilities, including debts and assets  

What Should I Do If My Divorce Is Contested?

Though it may sound like couples in an uncontested divorce will have an easier process, this is not always the case. A contestable divorce can be made much easier by hiring a trusted attorney to represent you. An attorney will work to negotiate a settlement, meaning that they attempt to reach an agreement between spouses to settle the dispute outside of court. If both spouses agree to the settlement, the process becomes much easier, as a judge can then approve the divorce. If disputes still occur, the attorney can work to negotiate and talk through the issues with the couple to see if they can agree upon the issue. 

In some cases, couples may use a mediator to help settle disputes, though this is not a requirement in Virginia. A mediator doesn’t represent either spouse, but rather discusses the issues with both spouses and tries to reach a resolution. The mediator does not favor one spouse over the other or choose sides when discussing the divorce proceedings. Their role is to help make the contested divorce easier for both individuals. 

A contested divorce is often costly and time-consuming, but the process can be made easier if both individuals listen to the advice of their attorneys and follow the proper legal proceedings. An attorney can not only negotiate the terms of the divorce, but can help each spouse understand what options may be best for them. If you are in a contested divorce, an attorney is a helpful resource to resolution. 

Contact Our Virginia Attorneys Today

If you’re considering divorce and have questions about Virginia’s divorce proceedings, our attorneys at Mahoney, Richmond, and Thurston are here to help you. Contact us today to speak with one of our expert attorneys.