Domestic Violence

Why Contested Divorce May Be the Best Choice for You by Cassandra Hearn

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The majority of cases now settle without the need for litigation, and divorce is no exception.  Most divorces end in settlement. Settlement has a variety of advantages.  Settlement can be cheaper, lead to a quicker resolution, and allows the parties to tailor-make an agreement that works for their family.  As many benefits as an uncontested divorce may have, in some cases, contested divorce may be the better choice.

Contested divorce is often the best choice if there has been extensive domestic violence and the abuser is attempting to continue exert control or continuing to use intimidation tactics to force a settlement.  Domestic violence is tragically common, and maintaining control is a driving force behind abusers.  It is not uncommon for abusers to make unreasonable demands throughout the divorce case to try to coerce the victim into a settlement.  In these cases, a contested divorce will allow the judge to view the facts impartially and make his or her own decision instead of allowing the abuser to continue to maintain some control. 

Another time a contested divorce is a good choice is where there is a belief one party is hiding assets or income.  During the discovery phase of divorce cases, the parties exchange financial information to determine the value and existence of assets as well as each party’s income.  If one spouse is refusing to be forthcoming about this information or is attempting to defraud the other party by underreporting or not reporting at all, it may be beneficial to have a judge decide how the assets will be divided. Although California is a community property state and assets will be equally divided, a judge has the ability to make an unequal division in response to one party intentionally secreting assets.

Particularly contentious custody battles could also be a good candidate for contested divorce.  Although the prevailing wisdom is that no one wants to force a child into court or put the child in the middle of a dispute, having a judge make the decision on where the child should live could take the pressure off the of the child by removing the decision from his or her shoulders. 

Choosing contested divorce is a difficult decision.Contact us today to talk about your divorce and the best path for you to take.