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How does a contested divorce work?

When ending one's marriage, there is always hope that the process will be quick and civil. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Some couples in Mississippi cannot reach agreeable terms through the negotiations process. Instead, some will end up filing for a contested divorce, which can take some time to sort out.

How does a contested divorce work? It all starts with retaining legal counsel and talking about what one wants out of the divorce process. After that has occurred, one will file an official divorce petition, which then must be served to one's spouse. After the papers have been served, one's spouse has the opportunity to respond to the request for divorce. He or she usually has about 30 days to do that.

After filing a response, the discovery process can begin. During discovery, each party will need to provide information about assets, custody issues, income and anything else they feel is relevant to their specific case. Along the way, negotiations can begin. The hope is to reach an agreeable divorce settlement without going to court. If negotiations fail, then a trial date will be set.

During the trial, each spouse will have the opportunity to express what they want out of the divorce. They will have the opportunity to tell a judge why what they are asking for is fair and in their best interests and the best interests of their children -- if applicable. The judge will then issue a ruling on the issues at hand and then sign the divorce decree. If there are concerns about a judge's ruling, it may be possible to file post-trial motions or an appeal. Such motions must be filed within a certain timeframe for them to be considered.

A contested divorce that goes to trial can take a bit longer than an uncontested divorce or a contested divorce that is resolved during the negotiations process. It all depends on how backed up the family court system is at the time of one's filing. Legal counsel can help Mississippi residents get through the divorce process as quickly as possible, even if it goes to trial, with settlement terms that are fair and balanced.

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William C. Walter PLLC
The Horizon Building
43 Town Center Square
Hattiesburg, MS 39402

Phone: 601-602-8855
Fax: 601-336-1653
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