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Reasons For a Contested Divorce

 Posted on December 13, 2023 in Criminal Law

Kane County, IL contested divorce lawyerA contested divorce is something you will often see portrayed in movies. A couple cannot get along for whatever reason and they decide, instead of cooperating and ending things amicably, to have a drawn-out, expensive battle inside a courtroom. When divorcing couples have disagreements that cannot be handled outside of court, a contested divorce is likely the only path forward. In any divorce, it is especially important to retain an experienced and skillful attorney to represent you at trial.

What is a Contested Divorce?

A contested divorce is when a couple cannot agree on certain factors that surround the divorce. These factors can include:

It is incredibly rare for a divorce to not be contested over at least one of these concerns. Contested divorces can be handled through mediation or collaborative law but only if the couple is at the very least able to agree on the process. When a couple is unable to agree on all divorce factors, then a court will need to decide how the divorce will be handled.

Why Choose A Contested Divorce?

Almost all divorces start contested. It is only through compromise and acceptance that a divorce becomes uncontested. Those who are willing to go through a contested divorce over multiple disagreements will need to be okay with a judge deciding the outcome of each factor. Mediation and collaborative law can help speed things along. However, in cases where the divorce is high-conflict or there is a threat of violence, contested divorce may be the only option. In most cases, you will want your divorce to be as uncontested as possible so that the proceedings are fast and less expensive.

The Contested Divorce Process

There are many steps to a contested divorce that will need to be handled before it can be finalized. The first step is filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. This step only requires one spouse, who will be called the petitioner, while the other spouse is given the title of respondent. When the petitioner files, they must notify the respondent by serving them divorce papers. The respondent then has 30 days to respond to the petition and either acknowledge it or file a counter-petition. Responding with a counter-petition allows the respondent to claim other allegations before a hearing takes place. Once the response has been made, a hearing can be requested by either the petitioner, respondent, or one of their attorneys.

Next comes the discovery process, which allows both parties to gather evidence from one another. All information must be provided when requested, or else the uncooperative party could face stiff penalties. 

Negotiations follow the discovery process and allow both parties to come together to resolve their disagreements on settlements. Most divorce cases are settled at this stage, as most couples would prefer to settle things themselves rather than allow a judge to decide for them.

If negotiations fail, the final step is the divorce trial itself. There will be a pre-trial conference where both parties will meet with the judge. The judge can offer suggestions on how to settle things quickly without proceeding to trial. If an agreement cannot be met, the trial will commence at an appointed date. Each party will make their arguments at the trial and a judge will consider both sides before passing judgment.

Contact a Kane County, IL Divorce Attorney

Sometimes a messy divorce cannot be avoided. No matter the circumstances of your divorce, have an experienced Geneva, IL divorce lawyer to help navigate the process and represent you at your trial. The lawyers at Serrano Hanson are available for a consultation to discuss your impending divorce. You can contact the firm at 630-844-8781 today.

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