When most people are considering getting divorced, they try to pursue an uncontested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, the couple agrees on all significant issues. They draft a settlement agreement with the help of their attorneys, and the court will usually enforce the settlement and finalize the divorce. Most people do not want to go through a contested divorce in which the spouses do not agree on significant issues. 

Contested divorces take more time and may result in in-court litigation. Nonetheless, a contested divorce can be unavoidable. For example, if a couple cannot agree on their child custody plan, they will need to go through a contested divorce. Ultimately, the court must decide on the contested matters before the divorce is finalized. If you are facing a contested divorce, you must work with an experienced family law attorney who can help you protect yourself and your interests.


What is a Contested Divorce?

In a contested divorce, a couple disagrees on one or more important issues. When a couple cannot agree on all of the terms and conditions outlined in their divorce settlement, one or both of them may contest the divorce. Contested divorce has been more common than uncontested divorce because it is difficult for a couple to agree on every aspect of the divorce. 

Whoever petitions the court for divorce first is allowed to outline their demands in the initial paperwork, stating what they would like in terms of property division and child custody. For example, if a wife files the divorce petition in a court in the Bronx, she will be able to list her demands in detail. The court will serve her partner with papers. The partner will have the right to respond to the petition, stating their demands while contesting what the wife wants in their response.

When a spouse returns their response to the court with different demands, the spouse who filed for divorce can agree with them or disagree with them. If the spouses continue to disagree, they may be asked to go through mediation to work through their disagreements. In mediation, a neutral third party will spend some time with the spouse intending to help them agree on their divorce settlement. Some of the most common issues that couples disagree on in a divorce include the following:

  • How to divide their marital assets such as their homes, vehicles, retirement accounts, other investments, and assets in their bank accounts
  • How to divide marital property
  • How to divide marital debt
  • Who gets custody of the kids, and what the visitation schedule will look like
  • Whether visitation is permitted
  • Spousal support/alimony payments
  • Child support payments 

These are just a few of the common examples of issues that are contested in divorce, but there are many more issues that could arise. Some couples may agree on almost everything except who should keep the family dog. Other couples may agree on everything except what to do with their vacation home.


Grounds for Divorce

New York was the last state to become a no-fault divorce state. As a result, you do not need to prove a fault-based ground for divorce. Instead, you can show that you have irreconcilable differences. However, you do have the option of pursuing a fault-based divorce based on one of the recognized grounds for divorce. The grounds for divorce include adultery, abandonment for over a year, cruel and inhumane treatment, or a written separation agreement after you have lived separately and apart for a year.


Common Issues During a Contested Divorce

Frequently, contested divorces are accompanied by other issues that require the help of an attorney.


Child Custody and Child Support

For many people, figuring out a child custody plan can be among the most stressful aspects of going through a divorce. New York judges consider the best interest of the child or children when they decide child custody and visitation arrangements. There are many different types of custody arrangements that you can create and an attorney can help you figure out a plan that works for you and your kids. If you are concerned that your soon-to-be ex spouse is not safe for your children to be around, your attorney can help you seek sole custody of your children.


Division of Property and Debt

Division of property is one of the most contested issues in many divorces. Under New York law, any property, debt, or any other assets that you or your spouse acquire during your marriage are considered marital property. New York judges are obligated to distribute marital property equitably between the spouses under the law. If you have accumulated significant assets and property such as investments, real property, second homes, and pensions, it is important that you will reach out to an attorney who can help you protect your assets.


Spousal Maintenance or Alimony

In certain situations, a court may award temporary or long-term spousal support to the spouse with a lower earning capacity. Courts can order the paying spouse to pay spousal maintenance in one lump sum or over time. Spousal support can be permanent, rehabilitative, or restitutional in New York. Many times spousal support issues can lead to a contested divorce in which one spouse does not want to pay support and another spouse demands support. Disputes can also arise over how much spousal maintenance a person can pay and how long the support should go on.


Why You Need a Bronx Attorney to Fight Your Contested Divorce

There is a possibility that you will be able to get through a contested divorce on your own, but it is highly unlikely. There are many laws, regulations, and requirements that you will need to follow while going through a contested divorce. This process is intimidating for someone with little to no knowledge of the divorce process. 

Working with a diverse attorney who has experience guiding clients through a contested divorce can help you significantly. In order to successfully obtain what you are looking for in your divorce, you need an attorney who can present a strong case on your behalf and negotiate with your spouse in your spouse’s attorney. New York’s divorce law is complex and you will benefit significantly by working with a divorce attorney. 


Contact a Bronx Divorce Attorney Today

If you are considering getting divorced in the Bronx, contact the Law Offices of Jayson Lutzky today to schedule your free initial consultation.