Brad Micklin, a family lawyer in Nutley, answers:
A contested divorce means there is at least one issue in dispute in your divorce proceeding. Issues such as custody, parenting time, child support, spousal support, equitable distribution, and counsel fees are commonly disputed. The amount and complexity of the disputed issues as well as the extent of the dispute will affect the length and cost of your divorce proceeding.
If you’re able to reach an agreement as to the issues in dispute, your contested divorce will be converted to an uncontested divorce and the court will schedule a hearing to grant you a final judgment of divorce. Most people are eventually able to reach an agreement on their contested issues. The agreement can either be written as a separate document, commonly known as a property settlement agreement or marital settlement agreement, or the terms of your agreement can be inserted right into the final judgment of divorce granted by the judge.
Throughout the course of your divorce litigation, you and your spouse will be permitted to obtain discovery from each other, including case information statements outlining the other spouse’s income, expenses, assets, and debts, in addition to the supporting documentation. If, after exchange of discovery and attendance at one or more mediation sessions and/or settlement conferences, you are still unable to reach an agreement on the issues in your case, the court will schedule a trial date.
Brad Micklin is a family lawyer in Nutley, NJ.