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Contested divorces: Avoid them for a fast, stress-free divorce

A contested divorce is definitely a divorce that you want to avoid if you can. When there are things you can't agree on, it can make the divorce drag on for months or years longer than it needs to.

To prevent that from happening, there are a few things you can do. For one thing, you can consult your attorney to make sure you know exactly what you need to file and finalize the divorce. You will need to gather all your appropriate documents and be prepared to file them with the court. Keep copies of these documents.

A divorce petition must be served to your spouse if your divorce is disputed. He or she then has 30 days to respond to the petition. At that point, if he or she has not responded, you can get a default judgment of divorce. If your spouse does respond, then the case moved on to settlement and discovery.

During the discovery phase, you'll need to have information on your assets and income. Documents may need to be filed with the court, and depositions may take place. Discovery requests do have time limits. If your spouse doesn't respond in time, it can drag out the divorce, so do what you can to keep him or her moving on the process.

Finally, the judge will want to see that you have a settlement. If you can't agree, then a case will need to be scheduled for divorce court. There, the judge can determine who walks away with what from the marriage. It's a good idea to consult with your attorney before this point to see if a settlement can be reached. If not, whatever the judge decides will be your final settlement.

Source: Live About, "8 Steps From Beginning to End of a Contested Divorce," Cathy Meyer, accessed Sep. 08, 2017

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