We know that a contested divorce can be challenging for all parties involved: property disputes, questions over alimony and child support, and the emotional strain that comes from all divorces can create a complex legal environment. When you have us on your side, you will have attorneys ready to fight aggressively for your best interests. Most often, divorce in Tennessee is uncontested. The couple decides to divorce, goes through mediation and negotiates a divorce settlement with little conflict and very little time spent in court. But sometimes the divorce process does not proceed this way. A contested divorce may be necessary when:
- The parties do not agree on the parenting plan, a visitation schedule or other custody terms
- One party refuses to support the other with alimony or child support
- Issues of domestic violence or abuse are alleged
- Splitting of property, business assets and other financial details cannot be agreed upon
The list of reasons why two people would go through divorce litigation is long. No matter your circumstances, our attorneys have the legal backgrounds and temperaments needed to guide you through the challenges of a contested divorce.
Divorces become contested when one party refuses to settle with the other and hires a lawyer to assert their rights in the divorce process. Contested divorces most often occur because one or both parties are letting emotions and hurt feelings hold up a settlement, but there are also a few cases where litigation is necessary to protect the rights of one or both parties and their children. This may occur when one spouse is hiding assets from the other, there has been domestic violence or other abusive situation, or a behavioral problem with the children. Does having a contested divorce mean you will get more out of the case? Not necessarily, and you may even lose more in a contested divorce than you would if you settled at the outset of the divorce. You’re also going to pay a lot more in attorney fees, which is something every divorce client needs to consider before contesting a divorce.
The contested divorce process involves a couple of common procedures before a case can be taken to trial for a final resolution:
- Discovery: This is where both sides disclose assets, debts, and other facts about each other and answer questions in writing under oath about the events leading up to the divorce. This process is often the most expensive and time-consuming part of the divorce process for a lawyer as it usually involves gathering a very large amount of documents to sort and give to the other side such as bank statements, tax returns, phone records, emails, etc. There may also be depositions in discovery, which means you may be interviewed on the record with a court reporter at your lawyer’s office.
- Temporary Support Hearing: This is where one of the parties asks a magistrate called the Divorce Referee to issue an order of support while the divorce is pending, which is why it is officially called a pendente lite hearing for “pending the litigation.” This could be alimony, child support, bill payment, or all of the above. The goal is to put both sides on an equal playing field financially during the divorce case. This hearing will require the parties to take the witness stand in court to discuss their financial situation and to provide a sworn affidavit as to their income and expenses.
- Mediation: This is a formal settlement conference required by law before a case can go to trial, so the purpose is to reach a settlement between the parties before bothering the judge with a lengthy trial. Both parties and their lawyers will attend the conference which will be conducted by a neutral third party attorney who is a licensed mediator. This proceeding is strictly confidential and nothing said or disclosed in the mediation may be used at trial.
- Trial: This is the last stage of a contested divorce that can’t be settled because the parties refuse to compromise. The vast majority of divorces end without a trial because it is not often in either party’s interest to allow their case to be decided for them by a stranger. Once the trial begins anything could happen and the parties lose control over the outcome as the judge will rule as they see fit based on what they’ve seen in the trial. A trial can be on all issues or just one narrow issue that can’t be resolved, and you should expect it to last at least one to two days.
There are other types of hearings and events that could occur in your case, but most cases only involve the procedures mentioned above. At any time in a contested divorce you may elect to settle the case and end the divorce, which is what happens most of the time.
Efficient, Practical Legal Representation
We will always put your best interests first. If defending your best interests means that your case takes years and years to resolve, we will be your strong advocate until a divorce settlement is reached. On the other hand, at Davis & Greene, we know that a contested divorce does not necessarily need to be a long drawn out process. We believe in offering affordable excellence to our clients; we will never string a case along with the simple intent of increasing your legal fees. In fact, we founded this law firm to do what is best for clients. We want to be the law firm that you call no matter what legal challenges you face. It is in our best interests to help you achieve your goals at the lowest possible cost so that we earn you trust. You can afford stellar legal representation at an affordable cost by simply calling a law firm whose goal is affordable excellence. Call Davis & Greene.