Contested and Uncontested Divorces
Divorces may be contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce is one in which the spouses agree to the divorce, agree to the child custody arrangement, agree to the division of the marital property and agree to the division of their liabilities. In an uncontested divorce, one party files the petition to initiate the process. Then the parties wait sixty (60) days, go to court, announce that the divorce is not contested, agree on child custody and the property division, and leave the courthouse divorced.
A contested divorce, however, is a different matter. Each party typically hires an attorney. Depending upon the nature and amount of the marital property and level of acrimony, the divorce usually will take substantially longer than sixty (60) days to finalize.
In a contested divorce, securing the appropriate temporary orders is critical. Temporary orders govern all aspects of the divorce proceeding between the date the petition is filed and the date the divorce is granted, such as spousal support, custody and support of the children, living arrangements of the children, visitation of the children, payment of bills, possession and use of the marital assets–including the family home–payment of attorney’s fees and other procedural matters. In some cases, a temporary restraining order (TRO) may be warranted to prevent harassment or prevent the sale or transfer of marital property.
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