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What is a contested divorce?

A divorce is never a happy occasion for all parties involved, but some divorces are definitely easier than others. When a couple comes to a mutual decision to end a marriage—especially when they don’t have children—and they agree on how to divide shared property, they can usually proceed with an uncontested divorce. However, if they disagree about even one issue, the divorce becomes much more complicated. This is known as a contested divorce.

Issues That Commonly Lead to a Contested Divorce

A contested divorce is litigated—that means that each party must hire a lawyer and present their side in a courtroom. While this can be a lengthy, cumbersome, and expensive process, it’s often the only way to get a reasonably fair outcome. Issues that often lead to the need for a contested divorce include the following:

Concealment of Assets

If one spouse suspects the other is hiding assets to avoid having them divided in the divorce, a contested divorce will allow for legal tools to help locate and identify all assets.

Custody of Children

When divorcing parents can’t agree on custody, visitation, and parenting time, it will fall to a judge to hear both sides and make a ruling. In some cases, one parent is only seeking shared custody because they are hoping to pay less in child support. If they are not in a position to care for the child, a judge will grant primary custody to the other parent and order sufficient child support.

Spousal Support

When children are young, and one parent is a stay-at-home caregiver, the non-custodial parent might be ordered to pay spousal support. This is often a point of contention that is best left to a judge to decide.

Uncooperative and Unreasonable Spouse

When one spouse refuses to be reasonable about the terms of the divorce, the best way to get an equitable outcome is often to pursue a contested divorce and let a judge decide based on the evidence presented in court.

If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement about the terms of your divorce, the division of property, child custody arrangements, or any other issue, it’s important that you hire your own attorney as soon as possible.

Do You Need to Speak to a Virginia Divorce Attorney?

If you are considering divorce you need to speak with an experienced Virginia divorce attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Fairfax, Virginia law office at 703.277.2811 to schedule your free consultation. We help clients throughout Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia and look forward to helping you.

Related Links:

  • Factors That Complicate a Virginia Divorce

  • Challenges of a Second Divorce in Virginia

  • Moving a Child to Another State After a Virginia Divorce