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Divorce can be a heartbreaking, difficult time in your life, but it can be made even more difficult when your spouse refuses to agree to break up. In a contested divorce, you may have difficulty convincing your spouse to accept your wishes for a divorce. This can be frustrating and painful. Contested divorces also can be time-consuming and expensive.
A contested divorce means that there are unresolved issues between the couple at the time of filing. These issues can include the desire to divorce, but also child custody and support, alimony, and the division of marital assets and liabilities. Many couples resolve these issues before filing a petition to divorce, but if your spouse is uncooperative, you may be forced to take your divorce to court. If settlement conferences and mediation have failed, litigation may be your only option to move forward and dissolve your marriage.
A contested divorce will go to court to be settled, unless the couple comes to an agreement before their court date. At this point, the divorce would be considered uncontested. If they do not agree, however, a divorce trial will commence, and each party will argue their side of the story.
The first step to a divorce is to file a petition for a divorce with the correct court. The spouse who files will be known as the petitioner, and the other spouse will become the respondent. The petitioner will serve the divorce petition to the respondent, who then has 30 days to file their answer to the petition. When the petition has been answered, then the process will move forward to the discovery period.
The discovery period will last for six months, during which both parties gather evidence for trial. The discovery period may be shorter or longer, depending on the situation of the case. The purpose for the discovery is to provide as much information as possible to the judge, so that they may be informed when making their decision regarding your divorce.
There may be a temporary hearing at the beginning of the process, to establish certain factors during the process. Typically, child custody and support, alimony, which spouse remains in the marital home, and visitation are determined in these hearings. During the formal trial, both parties will present their evidence and argue their side before the judge. The judge will then make their decision, known as the Final Decree. In Georgia, most divorce trials are bench trials, and occur before a judge only.
At Johnson, Kraeuter & Dunn, LLC, our Savannah divorce lawyers have over 50 years of collective experience to serve you. Our team is committed to helping your family through this emotional process, and we want to see you reach a brighter and stronger future. Our legal advocates have the trial-tested experience to handle your contested divorce proceedings, and we will strive to win the best possible outcome for you.
Contact Johnson, Kraeuter & Dunn, LLC today by calling (912) 421-2900 for a consultation.