Amicable and drama-free divorces do indeed exist. But let’s face it, the norm is for there to be at least a splash of drama in most divorce proceedings. In many cases, there’s enough volatility to warrant a contesting divorce.
Contested and Uncontested Divorces
In Arizona, a divorce starts when one spouse files a petition for dissolution of marriage with or without children, followed by the other spouse being served with the petition. The other spouse must then file a response.
If both spouses agree to the terms outlined in the agreement, it’s an uncontested divorce. You have your attorney send over the paperwork and move forward with your life.
However, if even one term of the agreement is a non-starter, you enter the world of contested divorces. If no agreement can be reached, a trial is on the table, and the discovery process gets underway, which will produce mountains of evidence to support or refute spousal claims. During the trial, a judge will review the evidence and rule.
Reasons for a Contesting Divorce
It may seem like contesting a divorce will bring stress to your life, and it likely will. With that being said, there are times when the consequences of contesting a divorce are worth it.
1. Child Custody Issues
When present, children are indeed the most important part of any divorce proceedings. Parents should be putting forth their best efforts to ensure that the needs of the children are given the proper attention in the divorce agreements. At trial, the judge’s decisions on the custody terms will be based on the children’s best interests.
Additionally, the need of the parents to be a part of their children’s lives is also important. Unfortunately, spiteful parents use their kids to hurt their spouses during divorce proceedings. If the child custody provisions of your divorce agreement are unreasonable, they may be worth contesting, so a judge can have a look.
2. Unfair Division of Property
After years of marriage, who gets what in a divorce can take some time to figure out. Even after a short period of wedded bliss, splitting up the assets can cause seemingly insurmountable problems.
Arizona rules of divorce are based on the community property approach. All assets and debts acquired during the marriage are equally owned, and assets and debt acquired outside of the marriage aren’t included in division-of-property calculations.
Although splitting everything down the middle seems like an easy formula to apply to divorce cases, problems frequently arise at this stage. Sometimes, a spouse will erroneously or purposely claim an asset was acquired before marriage in order to keep it out of the calculation.
3. Spousal Maintenance Provisions
Although spousal maintenance is not forever, unbalanced provisions can devastate a spouse’s financial health. If you are facing alimony provisions that simply won’t allow you to live a reasonable lifestyle, then the time to argue against them is before the divorce is finalized.
4. Concealed Assets
Spouses often take measures to hide assets from one another. If you suspect that there are missing assets, you should consider contesting the divorce. However, your decision should be based on the value of the asset. In other words, the asset should be worth the cost of contesting the divorce, either financially or sentimentally.
A Divorce Attorney Can Help
At Cohen Family Law, each client benefits from the personal attention of a seasoned divorce attorney who understands how to help you through this difficult time in your life. Our attorneys are experienced in all matters of family law and proceedings and will give your case the attention it needs. Give us a call today.