When you and your spouse agree to divorce but do not agree on the details, you have a contested divorce. Contested divorces can be time-consuming, expensive, and emotionally draining. Additionally, in a contested divorce, if you and your spouse cannot agree on all significant issues before trial, a Douglas County Superior Court Judge will make the decisions for you. You could lose your influence about what happens to your family after your divorce.

A Douglasville contested divorce lawyer will work to keep the power over your future in your hands. We will employ all of our experience, skills, and legal insight to help you and your spouse narrow the issues before the matter gets to a judge. Doing so means you obtain your divorce more quickly, less expensively, and you retain the decision-making authority over the most personal aspects of your life. Reach out to an experienced and supportive divorce attorney at Bardley McKnight Law to help you get through this time.

Douglasville Contested Divorce Procedure

A divorce is a lawsuit. Like any other lawsuit, there are different phases to complete before a divorce goes to trial. In some cases, the process could take several years from commencement to the final divorce decree.

The proceedings begin when one party initiates the divorce lawsuit by filing a complaint, and the other party replies to their pleading in a document called an answer. The couple trade financial information through their respective divorce attorneys and depending on the case, might depose witnesses or gather other relevant information. In a highly contested divorce, one or both parties might file motions with the court to force the other to provide information or prevent them from taking specific actions.

During this phase, the court could order the couple to attend mediation to reach an agreement on any outstanding issues. The court may schedule a hearing to learn what issues remain in contention and encourage compromise. If after a good faith effort the parties cannot agree, the Douglas County Superior Court will schedule the divorce for trial. Though, the first available space in the Court’s docket could be many weeks or months ahead, especially if a party requests a trial by jury.

Avoiding Trial Requires Compromise on Major Issues

All divorcing couples must resolve how they will divide their property and whether one spouse will continue to receive the other’s financial support or alimony. A couple with children also must decide where the children will live, establish a schedule for parenting time, and agree how much child support will be paid. A knowledgeable contested divorce lawyer in Douglasville could explain the legal requirements for these agreements and help a couple formalize any agreements they reach before trial.

The process is often simpler if a couple has no children. Property division must also be equitable, but not necessarily equal. If the couple could divide their assets so that both parties leave the marriage with a reasonable share of the marital property, a court is likely to approve the arrangement. Similarly, courts typically defer to a couple about alimony decisions, even if one party agrees to waive their right to spousal support payments.

If the couple has children but disagree about what is best for them, resolving those issues could be challenging. The law requires the couple to make a written parenting plan detailing their agreement regarding which parent has primary physical custody and how the parents plan to make decisions and resolve parenting questions. They also must make provisions for child support, taking into account the guidelines in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated §19-6-15(b). If the parties cannot agree on a parenting time schedule, the judge will decide when each spouse sees their children. In many instances, neither spouse is happy with the parenting plan imposed by the Court.

Focus on Resolution Rather Than Fighting

Although our dedicated attorneys are always prepared to take a divorce to trial, it is rarely ideal. Trials are time-consuming, adversarial, public, and quite costly.

The entire family benefits when the spouses settle their disagreements before a divorce case goes to court. Reaching an agreement before a trial:

  • Provides children with structure and routine sooner
  • Limits the harm disruptive disputes between parents have on children
  • Allows both parties to begin making realistic financial plans
  • Keeps highly personal matters private
  • Helps the couple hone their communication skills and learn to work with each other—a critical skill for the future if they have children in common
  • Saves exponential time and money

Whether the couple finally agrees through attorneys’ negotiations, mediation, or a similar process, a meticulous contested divorce lawyer in Douglasville could ensure that all written agreements meet legal requirements. Once a couple has a written agreement regarding property division, alimony, child custody, and child support, a Judge will review and incorporate them into the final divorce decree.

Seek Counsel from a Douglasville Contested Divorce Attorney to Resolve Your Disputes

Divorcing couples often cannot agree on all relevant issues on their own, and so they have a contested divorce. However, just because a divorce begins as a contested matter does not mean it has to end that way. A skilled attorney at our firm could help the spouses reach an agreement and settle a divorce before a trial.

If you and your spouse are divorcing but still have issues to resolve, make an appointment with a committed Douglasville contested divorce lawyer at Bardley McKnight Law. They will use their negotiating skills to help you reach a fair divorce settlement as quickly as possible.