New York Contested Divorce Lawyer

The Difference Between Contested & Uncontested Divorce

Many couples going through a divorce in New York will turn to the courts to help them sort out all aspects of their separation—from dividing debts and distributing property to determining child custody and support payments. If a couple cannot come to an agreement on some of these issues without intervention from the court, they will enter into what is called a “contested divorce.”

This term can mean several different things. First, it can be used to describe a divorce where one party argues that the other doesn’t have grounds for divorce, thus trying to prevent it. In this case, the divorce itself would be contested. More commonly, however, it is used to describe a divorce where both parties have agreed to a divorce, but cannot agree on issues such as child custody or property division.

Temporary Orders in Contested Divorce

In some cases, a divorce attorney will ask the judge to make temporary orders. This can help direct the payment of bills, mortgage payments, child support, spousal support and lawyers’ fees early in the case so that if one spouse stops paying the bills or providing the other with spending money, the court can order support. This will provide temporary relief that may remain in effect until the divorce is finalized.

In New York, a typical contested divorce will take several months, or longer, to complete. As you may have already discovered, life doesn’t stand still during this time. By establishing temporary orders, a non-monied spouse can pay some bills while the case is pending. These orders will generally stay in effect until the final divorce decree is entered or an agreement is reached by the divorcing parties.

During the Pending Divorce

While a divorce is pending, each spouse’s lawyer can request discovery from the other spouse—which may include information and documents almost anything related to the financial or custody issues involved in the divorce.

Some of the information your attorney might request includes:

  • Deeds or titles to property
  • Bank statements, checks and deposit records
  • Credit card bills and other spending records
  • Proposed witness lists
  • Business account records

The Trial

If your case cannot be settled, there will be a trial, during which the judge will hear evidence from both sides on all issues that have been raised. This could include witness testimony, testimony from either spouse, financial records, police or medical reports, or any other form of admissible evidence—all of which will help the court decide the facts and establish division of assets and debts and the best interests of the children.

Once the trial has been concluded, the judge may enter a ruling from the bench or take the matter under advisement and render a decision at a later time. In some jurisdictions, if the divorce has been pending for an extended period of time without any foreseeable resolution, the judge may schedule a status conference to see if a settlement would be possible before taking the case to trial.

For more information about contested divorce, call us at Lois M. Brenner, Esq.: (646) 663-4546.

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