You or your spouse has filed for divorce. In an ideal world, the two of you would be able to sit down and work out all of your issues together, without having a contentious divorce. However, that is not the case for many divorcing couples and you may find yourself in what is called a “contested” divorce. Perhaps you cannot agree upon a custody arrangement or how to divide your marital assets. If you find yourself about to engage in a contested divorce action, it is critical to begin to prepare for the divorce as soon as possible.
Get Organized. Gather up any and all important financial documents such as recent tax returns, bank statements and credit card bills. You will be required to complete what is called the Case Information Statement, which is a document that shows the court a snapshot of your marriage with regard to finances and property. Gathering relevant information will make completing this form easier for you.
Set Your Priorities. If you find yourself fighting over the marital house, gather documents such as the deed to the property, any mortgage documents (including the initial mortgage and any refinance documents) and any real estate appraisals that may have been done. It may be wise to think about contacting a real estate agent to do a comparative market analysis to determine the value of your home, if it was purchased several years ago.
Consider Child Custody Issues. If you find that you and your spouse cannot agree on issues relating to your children, begin to think about what type of custody arrangement would work for you. Do you want to share joint legal custody with your spouse? Can you create a parenting time plan that fits best into your schedule? Are there certain holidays that are very important to you? Can you determine how much child support you would need from your spouse in order to adequately support your children? Have you decided about their education, now and in the future?
Get Help. It is strongly recommended that you seek the advice and counsel of an experienced family law attorney if your divorce is contested. Navigating this process can become complex as you and your spouse work to provide information to one another that can help you both reach a settlement. If this is not possible, you may need to go through a trial, and having an attorney in this situation is invaluable.
Do you need advice or assistance about your matter? Our experienced family law attorneys can readily help you and steer you toward a resolution that makes sense for you and your family. Please contact us to schedule your initial consultation.