One’s wedding day is typically revered as the most wonderful day in a person’s life. With all the love, optimism and opportunity that comes with a new marriage, it’s hard to imagine your relationship going up in flames. Unfortunately, statistics show that 50% of first marriages end in divorce.
There are two types of divorce: Uncontested and contested divorce. An uncontested divorce is when the couple has come to an agreement before trial. A contested divorce is when there are more serious matters at hand and the couple is unable to come to an agreement before legal proceedings. This can result in the opposing parties fighting about the divorce or even the terms of the separation. The following is a list of steps you should take when preparing for your contested divorce case.
Gather Your Documents
When entering a contested divorce case, it is important to compile as much documentation as possible. Often, a partner can become unresponsive once they know they are headed towards divorce. Documentation ranges from financial statements, child information, business information to property and asset documentation. In a contested divorce, you will have to show a lot of proof of your claims so it’s good to start early with organizing all your documentation.
Meet with a Divorce Lawyer
Hiring an experienced lawyer in contested divorces can be a great asset to your case. Odds are your family law attorney will have ample experience with other clients who may have been in your situation before. Your divorce attorney will help navigate you through the process and ensure you avoid any obstacles that are unnecessary. It is also extremely important to hire legal counsel, especially if your ex has an attorney of their own.
File Your Paperwork with the Court
Once you and your attorney have established a game plan, you will then file an initial complaint and summons through the court. After you have filed these documents and paid applicable fees, your ex will then be served. This is a legal process in which your spouse is notified that you intend on divorcing them. This must be documented, and your partner will have a limited time to respond to the petition.
After both parties involved have filed the initial paperwork with the court, you will enter the discovery phase. This simply means discovering and/or exchanging detailed information with your spouse. During this phase, you will then disclose all marital and non-marital assets. This can include any property, income, debts, child custody and even alimony related documentation. Often, you may have to go through depositions, written interrogations and various other forms of discovery which is a process that can take a long time. Your family law attorney will help guide you through this when you’re facing a contested divorce.
After all the information pertaining to you contested divorce case is gathered and reviewed by both parties, then the settlement phase begins. Often, couples will go through mediation. This can be voluntary, or in some instances, the courts will require mediation. Ultimately this can result in case management conferences within the courts.
Negotiations on assets, alimony and other fiscal issues may take place between the two parties’ attorneys. This can cover things like asset distribution and custody agreements, which seem to be two of the biggest obstacles opposing parties face when going through a contested divorce. Depending on the complexities of each case and the levels of acrimony, this process can take a very long time. We’re talking even up to a couple years!
Most contested divorce cases are settled far before it reaches the point of going to trial. If things cannot be settled between spouses through mediation, you’ll eventually need to present your case to a judge. It’s very similar to any other trial in the legal world. You’ll present evidence, call on any witness testimony and bring any other supportive materials pertinent to your case. Only about 5% of cases end up going to trial, meaning a settlement between the spouses without courts is common.
Going to trial should always be avoided at all costs. One of the biggest “cons” in going to trial is you are leaving your fate to the decision and digression of the proceeding judge. These rules are legally binding and in some situations, you could end up with an unfavorable settlement in how your assets are divided or the details of child custody/support and alimony is resolved.
Hiring a Nevada Contested Divorce Lawyer
As mentioned earlier in this article, contacting a contested divorce lawyer is something that should take place at the beginning of the divorce process. There are many obstacles and issues that may arise which may become overwhelming when “going-it-alone”. An experienced family law attorney has often handled cases very similar to yours, having an understanding of all laws and most likely has built a reputation within the legal community.
Here at Justice Law Center, we have over 30 years’ experience fighting for the rights of families across the entire Battle Born State. We are always available to answer any questions you may have. Your initial consultation is always free, so please contact us at (775) 289-4422.