The other type of divorce is called a Contested Divorce. There are two types. One requires the party asking for divorce to prove that the other spouse is “at fault” for one of a variety of reasons. This type of divorce is seldom used any more because it requires the person filing to prove the fault in a trial. It is difficult to settle because the other spouse is not likely to acknowledge that they are at fault.
The more common type of Contested Divorce is called a “no-fault” divorce. This divorce, like the Joint Petition, is based upon the breakdown of the marital partnership. The Court doesn’t inquire about the reasons behind one or both of you wanting the divorce; rather it merely decides all of the issues of property division, support and parenting that must be included in a divorce judgment. This type of divorce can be very costly. There may be many trips to court for temporary orders, discovery motions, pretrial and status conferences, and trial. There are many documents that must be produced. There may be depositions of the spouses and other witnesses. A trial can last several days and there may even be an appeal. A contested divorce can end up costing tens of thousands of dollars and, in the end, both spouses may end up very unhappy with the result. Why? Well you are asking a judge, who is essentially a stranger, to decide important and intimate issues about your marriage, your children, and your property. The judge’s job is to call it as he or she sees it, not to side with one spouse or the other. I strongly urge all of my clients to reach an agreement whenever possible to avoid giving all control over to a judge.