What is a Contested Divorce?
Generally speaking, there are two types of divorces in New Jersey: contested and uncontested. In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree on all of the important aspects of the divorce, and the divorce process can be completed relatively quickly and easily. A contested divorce occurs when the spouses have a dispute about one or more of the terms of the divorce. Some of these issues include:
- Child custody issues, including who the children will live with and what the parenting time schedule will be
- Child support, including the child’s health insurance and medical expenses
- Work-related child care expenses
- The division of all marital assets and debts, including the marital residence and pensions, or equitable distribution
- Alimony, including determining the appropriate form, length of time, and amount of payment.
- Dividing any tax deductions or exemptions
- Evaluating any businesses owned by the spouses
- Any other issue related to the marriage
If the spouses cannot come to an agreement on any of these issues, they will need to go through the New Jersey contested divorce process.
How does the Contested Divorce Process Work?
There are several steps a contested divorce must go through before it is finalized.
- The divorce complaint must be prepared, filed, and served. This legal document requests the divorce and states the grounds for ending the marriage.
- The spouse who is served with the divorce complaint must respond to it in a timely manner.
- The ‘discovery process’ then begins, where both spouses gather information related to the divorce from each other and from third party witnesses.
- Any pre-trial hearings take place and legal motions are filed.
- The settlement phase can take place at any time during the above, where the spouses and their attorneys try to negotiate a settlement through settlement conferences or mediation.
- If a settlement cannot be reached, a court trial will take place.
- If either spouse disagrees with the judge’s decision, they can appeal.
Contact Us Today
A divorce is always a difficult and stressful time, and a contested divorce is an especially complex legal process. It is important to contact an experienced NJ divorce lawyer to discuss your situation and make sure you are being properly represented. Contact Katherine K. Wagner today to discuss your divorce.