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Downsides of a Contested Divorce

Posted By Kevin B. Gibbs, APLC || 22-Sep-2014

It is not uncommon for spouses to disagree on one or more issues in a divorce. Sometimes, these disagreements can lead to bitter disputes. Some spouses believe that they have no other choice but to take their negotiations to court and hire a lawyer to represent their interests. Spouses may not readily agree on certain issues, but that does not mean that a judge has to make decisions on their behalf. Learn more about contested divorce and the downsides of seeking a court-supervised divorce negotiation. If you are seeking positive solutions for your marital issues, contact Kevin B. Gibbs, APLC today!

Extra Time & Cost in Court-Supervised Divorce

When couples cannot agree on the terms of a divorce, this is known as a contested divorce. Both contested and uncontested divorces may be arranged through court, but a contested divorce often requires more work to be done. When spouses cannot come to an agreement on their own, a judge must make the decision for them.

A court-litigated divorce can have several steps to complete, such as:

  • Gathering information in "divorce discovery"
  • Engaging in pre-trial hearings
  • Negotiating settlement proposals
  • Preparing for divorce trial
  • Cross-examining witnesses
  • Appealing disputed judgments

Because of the need for attorney representation throughout court proceedings and additional steps required to get a judge's final decision, a court-litigated divorce can take much longer than other methods and create unnecessary financial and emotional burdens for a family. Before petitioning a court to decide the terms of your contested divorce, consider other ways of resolving your marital issues.

Alternatives to Resolving a Contested Divorce

There are several downsides to a contested divorce, including:

  • Dissatisfaction with court-ordered divorce agreements
  • Additional court proceedings to modify agreements
  • Extra court costs and attorney fees for court procedures
  • Issues continuing to be unresolved
  • Emotional suffering for spouses and children

Taking a divorce to court may not always be the only option when spouses cannot reach an agreement. In many situations, a collaborative divorce procedure or mediation may be what a couple needs to have their needs understood and an appropriate arrangement negotiated. Collaborative divorce and mediation are two alternatives that do not require going to court.

In a collaborative divorce, spouses meet with their attorneys present to negotiate the terms of their agreement. This allows spouses to maintain legal representation while also being able to speak directly to each other. In mediation, spouses negotiate a divorce with the help of a neutral mediator who helps them brainstorm solutions to their disagreements.

How am I able to reduce the costs?

Collaborative divorce and mediation reduce the costs of a divorce by avoiding fees for court procedures. In addition, the cost of hiring an Orange County divorce attorney may be reduced when spouses spend more time working together rather than opposing one another in court. A contested divorce may be resolved without having to fight for the arrangements in court.

Am I able to reduce the time it takes?

The more issues that a judge must decide on, the longer a court-supervised divorce can take. Leaving the decisions to a judge extends the amount of time it takes to complete all of the court procedures, which also extends the amount of time you may have a lawyer hired for legal counsel. Couples who work to settle their disputes outside of court reduce the amount of time it takes to arrange a divorce agreement.

Obtain Positive Resolutions for Your Contested Divorce

Spouses may disagree on the terms of their divorce, but that does not mean that these issues must be resolved by a judge. Mediation and collaborative divorce have the potential to greatly reduce the burdens of a contested divorce. These alternatives allow spouses to have more control over the legal process and give couples the ability to arrive at amicable resolutions. In most divorces, disputes may be resolved effectively with open and honest communication.

At Kevin B. Gibbs, APLC, I have helped individuals facing complex legal issues in a divorce. As a certified family law specialist, I have been able to help my clients find positive solutions in their contested divorce. If you are considering an Orange County divorce lawyer or mediator, trust a law firm with more than 20 years of experience in family law. Do not hesitate to schedule a free case evaluation today and pursue amicable resolutions!