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What happens when a divorce is contested?


Years ago, if you wanted a divorce, one spouse had to prove that the other spouse had done something worthy of divorce in the eyes of the law. That trapped a lot of unhappy couples in marriages that one or both no longer wanted.

Today, since Texas is a “no-fault” divorce state, you can’t be trapped in an unhappy marriage just because your spouse doesn’t want a divorce. That doesn’t mean, however, that every divorce will go smoothly. Many divorces are contested on one or more grounds.

What does it mean when a divorce is contested?

A contested divorce is one where the couple can’t agree on one or more important issues. The most common reasons for contested divorces are disagreements over:

  • Property division
  • Spousal support (alimony)
  • Child support
  • Child custody and visitation

A contested divorce doesn’t necessarily mean you’re headed for a no-holds-barred legal battle with your spouse — but it doesn’t mean you aren’t, either. It all depends on how willing you and your spouse are to negotiate some kind of agreement you can both live with.

What happens when a divorce is contested?

More than likely, once you file a petition for divorce, your spouse will file a counterpetition. That will give you the starting points for your negotiation and tell you how far apart you and your spouse are from agreement on whatever issues are holding things up.

Then, the court may issue temporary orders that help maintain the “status quo” for the family. For example, you may get a temporary custody and visitation schedule and a temporary child support order. These temporary orders may not remotely resemble the final orders, so don’t panic if they aren’t in your favor.

At that point, negotiations can start. Sometimes the parties to settle their disputes without going to court. If that fails, the contested issues will be settled by a judge.

Contested divorces are undoubtedly harder than uncontested ones. The more you and your spouse are willing to negotiate, the more control you will have over your own future — and the quicker you can get divorced — but sometimes you simply have no other option. If that’s the road you’re on, make sure you carefully prepare your case with the assistance of an experienced attorney.

What Our Clients Say

Ms. Marvel has assisted me regarding child support issues for the last 3 years. She is very knowledgeable in child support issues in Texas and also across state lines such as California. She came highly recommended to me by a fellow attorney, the highest compliment she can receive in my opinion. She is professional, responsive and gets the job done. Her staff is very helpful, returns calls and Karen and her staff are responsive to issues that arise. I highly recommend Karen Marvel to anyone seeking a family law attorney in Texas.
Karen Marvel is an excellent family lawyer, who presented at a legal conference I attended. I learned valuable information and tools from her that I now use to help my own clients. After the conference, I’ve called on her a few times when I needed her expertise in child support matters, and she was always willing to help. She is extremely well-respected in our legal community, and I highly recommend her services.
I recently hired Megan to represent me in my divorce. She was very easy to work with, responsive, and efficient. I was extremely impressed with her timeliness and was overall very pleased with her work. I would recommend her if looking for a divorce attorney…
I was very pleased with Megan’s performance in court. She has been a blessing in our lives and single handedly changed our lives for the better . It was a very difficult case on my end and was brilliant with negotiations with OAG. I will always be grateful to Megan and wish the best of luck in future cases…
When I needed a lawyer I asked my coworkers for their recommendations. Three of my coworkers recommended Brandon Wong and they were very satisfied with his services. I contacted Brandon and he handled my divorce in a timely and efficient manner…
I have felt so important to Brandon since the day we first met. I had a million questions and worries, Brandon made me feel informed of all possibilities and confident in him.
Meeting you and having your professional and emotional help during the process of my divorce has definitely been invaluable. In the professional aspect, you are not only a brilliant attorney but you are reasonable, just, and fair. During the process of my divorce I found myself completely…
Brandon represented me in a child custody matter. He is professional, educated, informative and provided his services in an economical manner. He worked to obtain a settlement outside of the courtroom. When the case required a visit to court, his experience guided me through smoothly and ultimately delivered the decision in my favor…
Please don’t hesitate to hire Brandon Wong. He genuinely cares about his clients. He protects his clients, he returns calls and e-mails, which is critical when you are in a situation where you need an attorney…
I would recommend Mr. Wong for his professional services. He was very attentive to my case, returning phone calls and emails before the end of every business day…
Brandon handled my divorce in a first class manner. He was always available to talk when I had questions or needed advice. He was a relentless lawyer and ensured that the settlement was fair and just…
I highly recommend Mr. Wong if you are looking for an honest and hardworking attorney who is more interested in properly representing his clients than making a quick dollar…
We received excellent legal help from Brandon Wong. Our family had a custody issue that had us spinning our wheels for a year due to the complexity. Brandon handled our case quickly and with heart. We felt genuinely cared for during the entire process and will continue to recommend him to anyone who needs legal help…
Brandon handled my divorce and made it easier than I could have imagined. He took care of everything, totally minimized the stress on me, and was extremely professional while remaining very approachable and compassionate…
Hired Mr. Wong to represent me on a child-support arrears enforcement case. Dad was ordered to pay child-support in 1991, and up until my daughter turned 18 years of age…

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