The hope is that two soon-to-be former spouses can agree on all terms of the divorce before it is final. Most divorcing spouses will sign a marital settlement agreement that decides both custody and property distribution matters. Even though compromise is the best thing, it is not always possible. In some cases, one spouse may take an unreasonable position, or both may not want to compromise.
When this happens, the two parties are in a contested divorce. In that case, they will go through a trial process that involves the court. They will have a full legal case, just like any other trial. They will both file motions and go through the discovery process. Even contested divorces often settle at some point.
However, a family court judge may be called upon to decide matters when the spouses cannot agree. Most divorce cases do not reach this point. Even if a divorce begins as contested, the two spouses may eventually settle before the case goes to trial. A small fraction of these cases will go all the way to a hearing in front of the judge. The court process can be contentious and expensive. It is something that you want to avoid if at all possible. You do not always have control. Much depends on the other spouse and whether they have the capacity to be reasonable. Especially when there are children involved, a contested divorce is the last thing that you would want.
Hiring an experienced attorney may help you avoid a contested divorce by giving you objective advice from a knowledgeable professional.
You should never try to handle your divorce process on your own. Call the attorneys at Naples & Spence at 904.478.8964 or reach out to us online to get our legal help.