The very term “contested divorce” can conjure up mental images of screaming matches between warring spouses and heated courtroom battles.
Is that always the case? In Texas, it’s not.
A contested divorce doesn’t have to be acrimonious
Technically, any divorce that doesn’t meet the very narrow grounds for an uncontested divorce in this state is “contested,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re bound for litigation.
You may need to anticipate a real battle on your hands in certain situations. For example, litigation is likely if:
- You’re filing for divorce “for cause” and your spouse objects to either your claims or the divorce itself.
- You and your spouse have unresolved issues regarding alimony, child support, child custody or the division of your marital property.
It’s really up to you and your spouse to decide exactly how “contested” your divorce will be. Most couples are interested in resolving their divorces as quickly (and cheaply) as possible, so that tends to make them willing to negotiate. There are additional filing, discovery, court and attorney fees that have to be paid when a divorce is litigated.
Even when a spouse is initially unwilling to cooperate, many courts will order a couple into mediation to see if they can resolve their issues without going through a trial.
What if your spouse won’t agree to anything?
Your divorce still won’t go on forever, but it will take longer — and it will cost more. If that’s what’s in the cards for you, however, you need to be as proactive as possible about asserting and protecting your rights so that you can move forward in your newly single life on the best possible footing.