What Happens When an Uncontested Divorce Becomes Contested?

This is always a possibility. A divorce may be contested when your spouse does not agree with the grounds for divorce, the relief sought, demands for support, or the terms of property division or child custody arrangements. If an uncontested divorce becomes contested, you will need to file your answer to the Counter Complaint within twenty-one (21) days of being served. You will have to answer the counter suit by admitting or denying each one of the allegations, and you or your attorney should start the “discovery” process as soon as possible.

In the discovery phase of litigation, both parties have the chance to learn about and obtain the other side’s evidence with interrogatories, requests for admissions, requests for documents, and depositions before the trial begins. Since court decisions on contested cases always take more time than uncontested cases, temporary decisions may be made on issues that cannot wait, such as issues concerning child custody, child and spousal support, possession of the family car, possession of the marital home, etc. If settlement is not reached before trial, a judge will make the final decisions on those issues, and grant a divorce. The costs in legal fees as well as time and emotions will almost always be greater with a contested divorce.