Contested Divorce Lawyers in San Diego
Providing Clients With Skilled Legal Representation for Their Divorce Matters
Making the decision to end your marriage is a truly heartbreaking and emotionally charged step, especially when children are involved. Things can become even more complicated when your spouse does not agree with the divorce or when both parties cannot seem to find mutual agreement on some or all the aspects of the divorce. This is when the work of a skilled family law attorney can positively impact your case and help you reach a resolution. The attorneys at Khosroabadi & Hill explain how contested divorces work in California and the steps you need to take to obtain one. If you are going through a difficult divorce in the San Diego area, call Khosroabadi & Hill at (858) 434-1020 for the legal representation you need.
What Is a Contested Divorce?
A contested divorce can happen when one or both parties involved do not agree to certain terms of the divorce or when one of the spouses wishes to remain married and opposes the entire divorce process. Typically, the parties in a contested divorce may have disagreements about important issues such as alimony, division of assets, child custody, and visitation arrangements. In order for a contested divorce to be finalized, the parties will have a chance to try to work out their differences and come up with their own agreements. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, then it is usually up to the family court to make a decision for the spouses.
A contested divorce may also be necessary in cases involving domestic violence. If an abusive spouse tries to regain control over the other spouse by refusing to comply with the divorce process or finding ways to retaliate against the other spouse, it may be necessary to consider filing a restraining order against that person and seeking a contested divorce.
Contested divorces can be a difficult, lengthy, and expensive process, as each spouse will need to prepare their argument and appear in court. During a contested divorce, the parties may present evidence and make arguments to the court as to why they should receive the outcome they are seeking. Many contested divorces lead to a trial, which can be a stressful situation that leaves both sides with little to no control over what may happen.
What Are the Steps to Get a Contested Divorce in California?
A contested divorce begins with one of the spouses preparing the necessary forms to file for divorce with the appropriate court. The forms typically include a Divorce Petition, a Summons form, and a UCCJEA declaration. Before filing, make sure you meet the residency requirements – either you or your spouse must be a resident of California for at least six months before filing.
You may then bring your papers to the court clerk, who will give you a stamped copy of your forms and retain the originals. You may be asked to pay a filing fee. Then, your spouse must be officially notified of the divorce filing by being served with a copy of the papers and a response form. Your spouse may be served by mail or in person by anyone over the age of 18. You may also have the county sheriff serve papers for you, or you may even hire a private process server to take care of this step. If your spouse responds by agreeing with all the terms of the divorce, your divorce is considered uncontested. However, if, at this point, your spouse responds by disagreeing with some or all of the aspects of the divorce, you will now be facing a contested divorce.
What Happens if We Can Agree on Some Issues but Disagree on Other Issues?
The next step in a contested divorce is to file financial disclosure forms with the court clerk. This needs to be done within 60 days of filing for divorce, and a copy must be served to the other spouse. You will have the option of going through settlement negotiations in order to avoid a trial.
In cases where a couple can only reach a partial agreement on certain issues, the process of settlement negotiation can give the parties a chance to resolve their differences on their own terms through mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods. If no agreement is possible or the parties do not wish to enter settlement negotiations, the case will go to trial, and a judge will make final decisions on their behalf. It is also possible to avoid a trial if you only have a minor disagreement on certain issues – in this case, you may be able to request a court hearing to ask the judge to decide the matter for you while still retaining control of the remaining aspects of your divorce.
What Is the Cost and Duration of a Contested Divorce?
Contested divorces are notoriously lengthy and expensive. The final cost and duration depend on a number of factors, such as the level of conflict between the parties, the complexity of their issues (such as a divorce dealing with complex assets and high net-worth individuals), whether the couple has children, and whether the parties are completely inflexible or willing to compromise in order to reach an agreement. Many contested divorces can take up to 2 years to be finalized in California.
At Khosroabadi & Hill, we know how a divorce can turn your life upside down and put everything on hold. It is our passion to protect your interests and help you reach a resolution for your divorce in the most efficient and beneficial manner possible. Call our office in San Diego at (858) 434-1020 to talk about your case and learn how we can help you turn the page on this difficult chapter of your life.