When you are going through a divorce, it is not uncommon to have disagreements with your spouse about various issues. In fact, it is rare for a couple to agree on every aspect of a divorce. If you are unable to resolve your disputes outside of court, your case will be considered a contested divorce, which means that a judge will have to make the final decisions about your divorce.
The Irvine contested divorce attorneys at Kirk & Toberty, Attorneys at Law, have extensive experience helping clients through the contested divorce process. We understand that the idea of going to court can be intimidating, but we are here to provide the support and guidance you need to get through this process.
What Is a Contested Divorce?
A contested divorce is any divorce in which the spouses cannot agree on the terms of the divorce. This can include disagreements about various issues, including property division, child custody, child support, and spousal support. If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement about how to resolve these issues, you will have to go to court and have a judge make the decisions.
Some of the most common issues that lead to contested divorces include:
- Property Division: California is a community property state, which means that all property and assets acquired during the marriage are considered to be owned equally by both spouses. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and property division can be a complex process. If you and your spouse cannot agree on how to divide your property, the court will make the decisions for you.
- Child Custody: If you have children, you will have to create a parenting plan that outlines how your children will be cared for after the divorce. This can include where your children will live, how much time they will spend with each parent, and how decisions about their care will be made. If you and your spouse cannot agree on a parenting plan, the court will create one for you.
- Child Support: In California, child support is based on a formula that takes into account the income of both parents, as well as a variety of other factors. However, there are circumstances that can affect how much child support is awarded. If you and your spouse cannot agree on child support, the court will make the decisions for you.
- Spousal Support: Spousal support, also known as alimony, is not awarded in every divorce. However, if one spouse earns significantly more money than the other, a judge may order temporary or permanent spousal support. If you and your spouse cannot agree on spousal support, the court will make the decisions for you.
If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement about any of these issues, you will have to go to court and have a judge make the decisions. This can be a lengthy and expensive process, which is why it is important to try to resolve your disputes outside of court if possible.
How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take?
One of the most common questions that people have when they are going through a contested divorce is how long the process will take. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question, as the length of a divorce depends on a variety of factors.
Some of the factors that can affect how long a contested divorce takes include:
- Where You Live: The length of a contested divorce can depend on where you live. In some states, there are waiting periods that require you to be separated for a certain amount of time before you can file for divorce. There are no waiting periods in California, so you can file for divorce as soon as you decide to end your marriage.
- The Complexity of Your Case: The more complex your divorce is, the longer it will take to resolve. If you and your spouse have a lot of assets and debts to divide, it will take longer to reach an agreement. Similarly, if you have children and cannot agree on a custody and visitation plan, it will take longer to finalize your divorce.
- Whether You Have a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement: If you and your spouse have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it could make the divorce process easier. These agreements outline how property and assets will be divided in the event of a divorce, so you may not have to go to court and have a judge make the decisions.
- Whether You Can Agree on the Terms of Your Divorce: If you and your spouse can agree on the terms of your divorce, it will be much faster and less expensive. However, if you have a lot of disputes that need to be resolved, you will have to go to court and have a judge make the decisions, which can take a lot longer.
What Happens in a Contested Divorce?
If you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of your divorce, your case will go to court. Your divorce will start when one spouse files a petition for divorce and serves the other spouse with the divorce papers. The other spouse will then have a certain amount of time to file a response.
During the discovery process, both spouses will have to provide certain information to each other. This can include information about their income, assets, and debts. If you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of your divorce, you will have to go to court.
During the trial, you will have to present evidence and arguments to the judge to support your case. The judge will then make the final decisions about your divorce, including how your property and assets will be divided, and whether you or your spouse will receive child support or spousal support. Once the judge makes a decision, your divorce will be finalized.
How to Prepare for a Contested Divorce
If you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of your divorce, you will have to go to court and have a judge make the decisions. This can be a lengthy and expensive process, which is why it is important to prepare for a contested divorce.
Some tips for preparing for a contested divorce include:
- Work with an Experienced Attorney: An experienced Irvine contested divorce lawyer can help you understand what to expect and guide you through the process. They can also help you gather the necessary documents and evidence to support your case. You should not try to go through a contested divorce alone.
- Know Your Finances: You will need to provide information about your finances during a contested divorce. This can include your income, assets, and debts. You should gather all of the necessary documents, including bank statements, tax returns, and pay stubs, to support your case.
- Be Prepared for a Long Process: A contested divorce is a long and complicated process. It can take months or even years to finalize a divorce, especially if you and your spouse have a lot of disputes that need to be resolved. You should be prepared for this and make sure that you have the necessary support systems in place.
- Try to Keep Your Emotions in Check: A contested divorce can be an emotional process, but it is important to try to keep your emotions in check. You will need to present evidence and arguments to the judge to support your case, and you do not want your emotions to get in the way.
Contact Our Firm Today
If you are going through a contested divorce, you need an experienced Irvine contested divorce attorney on your side. At Kirk & Toberty, Attorneys at Law, we are committed to helping you achieve a favorable outcome in your case. We will fight to protect your rights and best interests throughout the process.
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