What To Do When Your Divorce Isn’t Going Smoothly

No one expects divorce to be easy. It’s an awful experience at the end of what has become a bad marriage. In the best case, it’s swift and leads to the freedom and relief those getting divorced are looking for. But in the worst cases, it is expensive, stressful, long, and in a word, contested.

Most divorces aren’t quite that bad. 90 percent, according to the BB Law Group, PLLC, are in fact uncontested, with both partners agreeing on how things will be split up without too much fighting involved.

For 10 percent, though, there’s a lot of hard work still ahead.

Before getting to what you should do if you are one of those heading for a contested divorce, it’s important to outline just what the term means. An uncontested divorce is one in which both parties have sketched out the divorce process before pursuing the actual legal divorce. That means everyone knows who gets the house, who gets the car, how the bills and debts will be divided up, and where the kids are going during the week and the weekend. That situation is where 90 percent of future divorcees are as they get the process started.

A contested divorce is the exact opposite of all that. There is at very least disagreement (often outright enmity) over how everything will be split up. Perhaps one spouse wants full custody of the kids, or the two spouses can’t agree who is going to take the house and who is going to move out. Perhaps some debts were taken on during the marriage that one partner feels they aren’t responsible for at all. Or, perhaps there’s a small business that both founded and neither wants to lose.

These situations can (but don’t have to) involve more anger and emotional hurt than uncontested divorces. As some of the above examples suggest, they may simply involve much more complex finances and property than other divorces.

Now that the terms are defined, what should you do if you’re heading towards a contested divorce? The first thing is to try your best to avoid it. If you are in a position to work with your spouse while they are still technically your spouse, try your hardest to resolve the issues together.

If you can’t, for whatever reason, then your next step should be to find the best possible lawyer you can, particularly one that specializes in contested divorces.

Once the process begins, your lawyer and your spouse’s lawyer will most likely try to resolve what you and your spouse could not, namely, a fair division of property, debts, and custody. If that breaks down, then you’ll have to prepare yourself for a trial in which a judge has final say over how things are divvied up.

As you can see, this is a process that can get expensive and take a while, so the more you can resolve upfront the better. Try to convince your spouse of this as well before going too far down this road unless you have to.

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