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Our McKinney Divorce Attorney Explains What to Expect During a Contested Divorce
You have decided to file for divorce, and you are pretty sure (or perhaps entirely certain) that you and your spouse are not on the same page. You both want to keep many of the same assets, you (or your spouse) wants alimony, and you both want primary custody of your children. In short, you need to prepare yourself for a contested divorce. What do you need to know, and how can a McKinney divorce attorney help you prepare?
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce in Texas
To begin, it is important to clarify what is meant by a “contested” divorce. In the divorce context, “contested” does not necessarily mean litigated, and it does not even necessarily mean that you and your spouse are on bad terms. A contested divorce certainly can involve litigation between spouses who simply have no hope of arriving at a mutually-agreeable outcome. However, going through a “contested” divorce can also simply mean that you and your spouse are not on the same page regarding property division, financial support and/or parenting time (called “conservatorship” in Texas).
This can be contrasted with an “uncontested” divorce, which is an option in situations where both spouses are fully in agreement (or at least almost fully in agreement) with regard to how their divorce should be resolved. Due to the number and complexity of the issues involved in most divorces, a truly uncontested divorce is typically only an option where the spouses’ community estate is relatively small and no children are involved.
Issues that May Need to Be Resolved During a Contested Divorce
What kinds of issues are we talking about? While not all of these issues will be pertinent to all couples’ divorces, divorcing spouses will commonly need to come to terms regarding matters such as:
- Identification of their “separate” and “community” property
- Distribution of their community property
- Distribution of their community debts
- Valuation of real estate, retirement accounts, businesses, collections, antiques, and other high-value assets
- The amount and duration of alimony (if any)
- Parental decision-making authority
- Parenting time rights and scheduling
While litigation is one option for resolving these issues, pursuing divorce litigation often will not be in either spouse’s best interests. In many situations, it will be less time-consuming and more cost-effective to pursue an agreeable settlement through attorney-led negotiations, mediation and/or the collaborative law process. A “contested” divorce can take many forms, and it does not have to be hostile or emotionally charged. Particularly when both spouses have an experienced McKinney divorce attorney representing them, it will often be possible to negotiate an agreed settlement even when both spouses initially believe they are completely at odds.
Discuss Your Situation with a McKinney Divorce Attorney at Nordhaus & Nordhaus, PC
If you have questions about preparing for a contested divorce in Texas or your options for coming to terms without going to court, we invite you to contact us for a complimentary initial consultation. To speak with a McKinney divorce attorney in confidence, please call 214-726-1450 or request an appointment online today.