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Should you expect a contested divorce, and what does that mean?

If you decide that you want to get a divorce, you’re already in a place where you’re willing to move on without your spouse. You may think that they feel the same way and will be on board with a divorce, but you could be surprised to find that they contest it.

When you and your spouse can’t find common ground during divorce proceedings, your divorce is called a contested divorce. Instead of one where you both are able to agree on property division or child custody, your divorce may be one that takes years of litigation.

A contested divorce is more complicated and an uncontested divorce

Realistically, a contested divorce is always going to be rougher than an uncontested divorce, because you or your spouse aren’t willing to negotiate and work together toward reasonable solutions.

To help make this process easier, it’s important that you both understand what it would mean to “win” the divorce case. For example, would you feel successful if you had joint custody of your children? How much do you want out of the marital estate? When would you be willing to agree to settle, and when would you push for more?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you establish your footing during the divorce and give yourself, and your attorney, something to aim for.

What happens if you can’t settle your contested divorce outside of court?

If you try mediation or other methods of resolving disputes and aren’t able to come to an agreement, then your divorce case may end up in front of a judge. This is usually the last thing that people want because a judge will make decisions that you have no control over. Whatever the judge decides upon will be the final word, and you and your spouse will both be bound by the settlement.

While you can ask to modify the judge’s custody schedule or division of assets, for example, it’s difficult to do so. That’s why it’s better to try to negotiate outside court, even if you find it hard to talk to your spouse about resolving the divorce.

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