What is a Contested Divorce?
If you come to the conclusion that a divorce is what’s best for you, there are several things to take into consideration before you think about filing for divorce in Georgia. You must first decide whether your divorce is contested or uncontested – this will affect the length and most likely the cost of your divorce. Whether a divorce is contested or uncontested comes down to the what the parties can agree on. Next, you’ll want to determine the grounds for your divorce. The most common ground for divorce in Georgia is that “the marriage is irretrievably broken”. Other grounds may apply in specific situations. Next, you or your lawyer will have to draft a Complaint for Divorce and file it with the court and serve it onto the opposing party. The opposing party will then have the opportunity to file an answer and get the divorce action underway.
Why is my Divorce Contested?
There are many elements that push a divorce down the contested path – emotions, lack of awareness of finances, failure/inability to plan a future, and adverse behavior by a spouse are just a few. For example, sometimes a case remains contested merely because the emotions of a divorce overwhelm a party’s ability to see the future. For others, a mere lack of knowledge as to what the assets are prevents a party from being able to fairly divide assets. Unfortunately, you are not always in control of these factors, which can be especially troubling for a party that is ready to move forward with their life post-divorce. Depending upon your unique situation, these concerns must be addressed in order for the case to move forward to resolution. One party may want to proceed uncontested but the other may disagree. As long as one party disagrees on the specifics of how the divorce will be resolved, the case will remain contested.
How do you Settle an Uncontested Divorce?
Just because your case starts out contested, it does not mean that it has to remain that way. For cases involving a lack of information, the solution is easier. Find the relevant information and share it to a level that both parties can gain comfort that they understand what they are dividing and where they are headed. For cases involving emotional challenges, the path towards resolution can be more difficult. Fortunately, there are several options to resolve disputed issues within a divorce in formal and informal ways including settlement conferences, mediation, and either (or both) early case and late case evaluations.
Concerns About Costs & Length of Time
Contested divorce by nature can be a longer and more expensive process. Cases can drag out months and even years and the cost for a contested case can be staggering – often resulting in one, or perhaps both, wasting some or all of the marital estate fighting about various issues that need to be resolved.