A contested divorce is one in which the parties are not in agreement as to the terms of the divorce. A contested divorce can take months or years to settle. Some contested cases will eventually lead to a trial. Often, the parties are in agreement as to the necessity of a divorce; however, they are not willing to cooperate in finalizing the process. Attorneys for the parties and the court will make reasonable efforts to resolve the case and bring it to Judgment. Ultimately, it is the parties themselves who must stipulate to complete the case.
Contested divorce cases can be quite expensive as attorneys typically charge by the hour for office time and for court time. Many a small fortune has been spent on legal fees over a failed marriage. It is usually in the parties’ best interests to bring a swift resolution to the case.
One issue can cause a case to become contested. The parties might agree on everything except custody, support, visitation or division of property. This one area of disagreement can cause a case to go to trial. Although the court will do everything in its power to attempt to have the parties reach agreement, there are cases where the court must conduct a hearing and allow for the parties to present their cases.
A trial can last less than a day in a simple case or can last weeks in a difficult case. Cases that involve custody disputes require the most time and interplay between the parties, witnesses and the court.