There are two types of divorces: contested and uncontested. In a contested divorce, the divorcing couple fails to come to an agreement regarding the terms of their separation, creating the need for court involvement. Oftentimes, high net worth divorces end up being contested in court due to their high stakes. While it can be argued that no divorce is truly “uncontested,” since there are always disagreements, not all divorces have disputes that need to be resolved in court. Contested divorces can quickly turn into long, complicated ordeals, requiring the skillful touch of an experienced divorce attorney to navigate through the troubling waters.
What Are the Stages of a Contested Divorce?
There are several steps involved in a contested divorce. First, divorce papers need to be completed, filed, and served. This involves the delivery of paperwork asking for a divorce and the grounds for dissolution of marriage. In New York, grounds can be either no-fault or in relation to some form of marital misconduct, such as infidelity or abusive behavior.
Following the official submission of paperwork, both divorcing spouses need to hire their own legal representation to advocate on their behalf in court. From here, the “divorce discovery” process begins. In this stage, information is gathered about the circumstances of your divorce from both spouses and a third party. Written questions, subpoenas, and depositions are often part of the discovery period.
The divorce case would proceed to court at this point. A last attempt is made at reaching a settlement, with negotiations between attorneys taking place on behalf of the divorcing spouses. If reaching a settlement proves to be impossible, preparations for a trial begin. During a trial, witnesses are presented by both spouses with cross examinations, and closing arguments are made. Once both sides have had a chance to present their case, the judge will make a final decision that is enforceable by law.
This court-mandated ruling can decide:
These rulings can sometimes be appealed, though they are oftentimes final. For this reason, it is highly advisable that you first negotiate for an out-of-court settlement before moving toward litigation. If an agreement cannot be made, it is imperative that you retain the services of a powerful family lawyer from our firm to represent your interests and improve your chances of reaching a desirable outcome.
Are you in the beginning stages of a divorce? A Dutchess County divorce attorney from the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC can advocate on your behalf and help you get through your difficult time. Contact our office or complete a free case evaluation form today.