The Hive Law

Is It Worth Contesting A Divorce?

Is it worth contesting a divorce?

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • what a contested divorce means
  • reasons you’d want to contest a divorce
  •  when is it worth contesting a divorce
  • the cost of a contested divorce

Let’s dig in.

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What Is A Contested Divorce?

A contested divorce is the most complicated divorce. 

A contested divorce is when spouses cannot agree on major issues in their divorce. 

And they have to go to court to have their lawyers negotiate with each other. 

For a contested divorce, spouses will end up in court so that the judge can make decisions for them. 

Contested Divorce Meaning

A contested divorce means that you’re contesting issues in the divorce. 

Meaning that you and your spouse are unable to agree on how to handle things like:

  • child custody
  • visitation schedules for the kids
  • how much alimony gets paid and for how long
  • who pays alimony
  • who pays child support
  • how much child support will be
  • how to split assets and debts
  • who gets the house in a divorce

Related: Divorce Statistics

What Does Contested Divorce Mean

What does a contested divorce mean for you?

A contested divorce means that your divorce:

  • will take longer to complete
  • will cost more in legal fees

The average length of a contested divorce is around 12 months. 

The average cost of divorce that’s contested is $17,000. 

Related: How Long Does A Divorce Take

Difference Between Contested And Uncontested Divorce

Remember that a contested divorce means that one spouse contests an issue with the divorce. 

If you both agree on the issues listed above, then you can have an uncontested divorce

But it’s common for spouses ending a marriage to contest issues surrounding their divorce. 

A divorce may start out contested, but end up uncontested as they work out these issues. 

For an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse decide the outcomes on issues. 

Meaning you both come to an agreement on how to handle things. 

But, let’s say that you have a contested divorce and you guys can’t come to an agreement. 

In this case, you’ll have to show up in court in front of a judge.

The judge will make a decision for you on how to handle these issues. 

They will do what seems the fairest given your situation. 

But, most likely, the final decision won’t be one that either you or your spouse like. 

Related: Questions to Ask A Divorce Lawyer

Can You Contest A Divorce

Yes, you can contest a divorce. 

You have to determine is it worth contesting a divorce if you and your ex can’t agree on:

  • child custody
  • visitation schedules for the kids
  • how much alimony gets paid and for how long
  • who pays alimony
  • who pays child support
  • how much child support will be
  • how to split assets and debts
  • who gets the house in a divorce

Related: Do You Have To Sign Divorce Papers

How To Contest A Divorce

Once you’ve determined is it worth contesting a divorce, let’s talk about how to contest a divorce. 

For a contested divorce, you have to contest aspects of your divorce. 

The steps for how to contest a divorce are:

  1. prepare, file, and serve the divorce petition
  2. respond to the petition being served (if it was served to you)
  3. interview and hire a divorce lawyer
  4. start the divorce discovery process
  5. set up court hearings for pre-trial motions and hearings
  6. negotiate and propose settlements to your ex
  7. prepare to go to court if settlements are not accepted
  8. receive your final divorce judgment
  9. file an appeal if you’d like to dispute the judge’s decision

The settlement phase is when most couples learn they can’t agree on divorce issues. 

The judge will encourage you to reach an agreement on your own. 

Even if this means using divorce mediation

But it’s common that spouses disagree on issues and need to go to court to resolve them. 

Contested divorces are drawn out and can be very expensive. 

This is why you have to decide is it worth contesting a divorce. 

Related: How Long Does A Divorce Take

Reasons To Contest A Divorce

Let’s go over reasons to contest a divorce so you can decide is it worth contesting a divorce. 

The reasons that make it worth contesting a divorce are:

  • hiding assets in a divorce
  • alimony (spousal maintenance)
  • what’s the best interest of the child
  • spousal abuse 
  • an uncompromising spouse

Hiding Assets In Divorce

Hiding assets in a divorce is fairly common. 

Spouses hide things from each other during the divorce. 

But especially if one spouse has been planning to file for divorce for a while. 

When a spouse hides assets, this can affect:

  • spousal support
  • child support
  • splitting of assets
  • splitting of debts

If your spouse is the one hiding assets, you get less during the divorce. 

And this is a reason to contest a divorce. 

But you may still be wondering is it worth contesting a divorce. 

You can lose tens of thousands of dollars from a spouse hiding assets. 

In this case, it’s definitely worth contesting a divorce. 

Related: How to Leave Your Husband

Contesting Spousal Support

It’s natural that one spouse doesn’t want to pay alimony to support their ex for the next few years. 

And it’s natural that the other spouse needs alimony to get back on their feet. 

A reason to contest divorce is to prove that you need spousal support. 

You’ll have to prove to the judge that you had to “give up” opportunities while married. 

There are numerous valid reasons that you gave up opportunities. 

Some examples are that:

  • you quit school to work to support your spouse while they attended school
  • you have been out of the workforce for years to raise children
  • you suffer from an impairment so you’re not able to work
  • you are a caregiver for a disabled child

Spousal support can be necessary to get one spouse back on their feet. 

In this case, it’s likely worth contesting a divorce to get alimony. 

Related: How Long Does Alimony Last

Contesting Child Custody And Support

To most parents in a divorce, custody is the most important issue to fight for. 

It’s common for parents to go through a custody battle for their children. 

When this happens, they will have a contested divorce. 

And they will have to show up in front of a judge to get a custody order

The judge will make a ruling based on what’s in the best interest of the child

They don’t make decisions based on what either parent wants to happen. 

This is why it’s best if you and your spouse can figure out child custody together. 

Before going through a custody battle, consider child custody mediation. 

If parents cannot agree on child support, the judge can resolve this fairly easily. 

They use a child support calculator to determine how much a parent should pay or receive. 

Spousal Abuse in The Marriage

Many marriages with an abusive spouse end up leading to a contested divorce. 

An abusive spouse will most likely try to interfere with the divorce proceedings. 

They will try to maintain control by attempting to not allow the divorce to happen. 

Or they will bully the other spouse into giving up more than what’s fair. 

If you are the victim of abuse, it’s definitely worth contesting a divorce. 

This means that the divorce process will go in front of the judge. 

And the abuser has zero control or manipulation over the outcome. 

Because the judge will do what’s most fair to both parties. 

Related: Does It Matter Who Files for Divorce First

A Spouse That Won't Compromise

Some spouses are just unrealistic on what they think they should be getting in a divorce. 

Maybe they think they deserve unreasonable amounts of:

  • child custody
  • visitation
  • alimony
  • child support

No judge will allow there to be blatantly unfair outcomes in a divorce. 

While the outcomes may seem unfair, judges try to make sure everyone is fairly treated. 

But what if you agree to your spouse’s wishes with an uncontested divorce? 

The judge will grant the divorce even if it seems one-sided. 

So, in this case, it is worth contesting a divorce to make things fairer. 

Contested Divorce Cost

You have to consider the cost when deciding is it worth contesting a divorce. 

The average cost of a contested divorce is $17,000. 

Compare that to the average cost of an uncontested divorce at $7,500.

The cost of contested divorce averages about $10,000 more. 

That’s PER PERSON. 

And, if you have children, the average cost of a contested divorce is $21,000. 

You have to decide is it worth contesting a divorce. 

Related: How To Get A Divorce For Free

Is It Worth Contesting A Divorce?

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We also make sure that your divorce judgment is equitable and fair.

This means you don’t get raked over the coals financially.

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Talk soon.

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