A contested divorce with children is very common in Missouri. This is a divorce where one of the two parties disagree with one or more of the issues that must be resolved to finalize a divorce or if one of the two parties does not want to divorce. It will only take one unresolved issue to change an otherwise uncontested divorce into a contested divorce.
A contested divorce process takes longer to work its way through the legal system and it costs more than an uncontested divorce.
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The main difference between a contested divorce and an uncontested divorce is the amount of discovery that is required in a contested divorce vs uncontested divorce.
Discovery in a contested divorce allows the parties to ask under oath questions about finances, retirement accounts, assets and other financial issues. Discovery can also request that the other spouse provide copies of bank statements, receipts, tax returns, credit card statements, paycheck stubs etc. The purpose is to “discover” specifics about the assets of the marriage to prepare for a fair an equitable division of those assets. It is also during this process that proof can be obtained that one of the parties is guilty of dissipation of assets. Dissipation of assets is where one spouse in the marriage abused or intentionally squandered marital assets to keep the other party from receiving their fair share. Discovery is also very valuable when children are involved where it can be “discovered” that the parent on the other side is not the best parent for custody or is unfit and sole custody should be awarded accordingly.
Discovery can also include an additional investigation to gather facts which would be obtained by conducting depositions or expert witnesses.
Discovery is a very important part of the process when there are substantial assets or where custody of the children is of great concern.
RS Law will take you through the process of a contested divorce and prepare ultimately for a trial. This allows you to always negotiate with the other side from a position of power. They have to know that if they don’t cooperate and settle this matter fairly that you are willing to demonstrate to a judge why you are being fair and ask that he rule in your favor. Keep in mind that at any time during the settlement phase of the divorce, should both parties agree on the issues, the matter can be stopped at that point and RS Law will ask that a judge finalize the divorce.
Your willingness to take your divorce all the way to trial puts you in a position of weakness If the other side thinks that you want to avoid a trial, cannot afford one or didn’t prepare for trial you will be at a HUGE disadvantage. Not only would this result in you being ill-prepared for a possible trial but you have made it virtually impossible to negotiate a settlement from a position of power. This is a lot like showing up for peace talks without bombs or bullets, will anybody listen to what you are saying?
Ryan Shernaman is an experienced trial lawyer, and well known to opposing counsel that he will move to prepare your case for trial which will allow you to proceed from a position of strength to negotiate a satisfactory settlement or he will have you well prepared for a trial if need be. Selecting a family lawyer with the trial reputation that Ryan Shernaman possesses can make the difference in settling a case and settling a case well. Call today for a consultation.