The role of a family law attorney in a contested divorce
These days, divorce is a common reality, not just something that is whispered about every now and then. More and more people are asking about divorce and what the legal process is. Some people really want a divorce, and others just want to know what their options are. Divorce is a legal process that allows two married people to permanently end their marital agreement and releases them from all marital obligations. Legal procedures vary depending on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. A contested divorce is one where both parties cannot agree on certain issues such as separation or family property. They often go to court and require time and money.
Divorce attorneys deal with contested divorces on a regular basis. The longer a couple is married, the more problems they have to deal with. When two people cannot fully agree, the court will intervene. Common issues are property division, child custody and child support. Each time the case goes to court, it will take longer. The court is obliged to hear the arguments of both sides and find a final decision. In certain situations, the parties may be assisted by a mediator to try to reach an agreement without going to court.
The first few meetings held with a family law attorney are an interview to find out about the main issues that need to be resolved in the divorce. They want any documents applicable to family assets and other important factors such as children. Once they have all the information they need, they will review it and determine what is reasonable. This information is used to file a divorce petition to be served on the spouse. If they do not respond within thirty days, they are considered in default and the divorce is automatically granted. The discovery phase begins before the divorce petition is filed and served on the spouse. All information, documents and other necessary elements are collected by the divorce lawyers for both parties. Settlement documents may be drawn up repeatedly until a resolution is reached. If both parties cannot reach an agreement, the court takes over the case and begins the legal proceedings.
The divorce process proceeds much like any other type of process. Each party has the right to witnesses and will be cross-examined by the opposing party’s attorney. Closing arguments will then be made and the judge will make a decision. Once the order is signed by the presiding judge, either party has thirty days to file a motion to vacate the judgment. If the trial request is denied, an appeal may be filed with the appellate court within thirty days of the denial.
All the steps involved in a contested divorce are complex and can take a long time. When a trial period is required, the time increases dramatically and there is no way to know exactly how long it will take. One advantage of the court process is the ability to obtain restraining orders if there is a fear of harm. The biggest downside is that both parties can walk away financially drained.
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