contested divorce

What Is a Contested Divorce? The Facts You Need to Know

What Is a Contested Divorce? The Facts You Need to Know

By David Gutierrez |

contested divorce

Divorce is never an easy thing to go through. There are many emotional hurdles that you have to overcome, and there are always many legal complexities.

For example, what is a contested divorce? A contested divorce usually refers to one in which the spouses cannot agree on any of the issues that need to be addressed. Contested divorces can include everything from who will get custody of children, child support, property division, and alimony payments.

A contested divorce can also refer to a situation where one spouse wants a divorce, but the other does not want it. The person who doesn’t want the divorce has to fight it in court.

If you’re considering getting divorced, this article will help you figure out if a contested divorce is right for you.

Contested Divorce Steps in Texas

You need to start by talking with your spouse. Try and be as reasonable and amicable about the whole issue as possible. If you cannot reach an agreement on your own, then a contested divorce process starts.

Filing Original Petition for Divorce

To file a contested divorce case in a court of law, one party must first have an original petition filed with a county clerk’s office. The request is then submitted to a judge.

A copy details your grounds for contesting should accompany your application. Also, include any additional supporting paperwork, such as tax returns or dates of separation.

Service of Process

After the original petition has been filed, a copy is sent to your partner. Once they’ve received it, there is an allotted time for them to file their response and any additional paperwork.

Temporary Orders

Temporary orders are granted by the court when a contested divorce is filed. These sometimes include custody, child support, and spousal maintenance to provide temporary security for all parties involved.


The court may also order the parties to participate in mediation, which is a form of negotiation. This can be helpful for contested divorces, as it allows both parties to discuss and come up with fair terms.

During the negotiation process, a couple is encouraged to work out their differences and agree on issues such as custody rights or how to divide marital property.

If both parties agree to these terms, they are then filed with the court, and a judge will sign off on them.

If you don’t reach an agreement during negotiation (or any other form of dispute resolution), the court may order a contested hearing before making decisions on your behalf.


If the court orders a contested hearing, both parties will attend a trial to present evidence and testimony to support their side of the case.

If you’re in this type of trial, you must prepare thoroughly. Also, hire an attorney experienced with divorce law for the best chance of success.

At the end of the proceedings, a judge will make a decision. For example, this could result in:

  • Temporary custody arrangements that allow each parent time with the child
  • Child support payments from one spouse to another
  • Spousal maintenance or alimony paid by one party to another


If you don’t agree with the court’s decision, it may be possible for you to appeal the ruling. This means that you’ll take it up a level and present your case before another judge.

Top Reasons to Go for a Contested Divorce

There are many reasons why people might choose a contested divorce over other options. We’ve got the top ones below.

They Feel Unjustly Accused

The one common trend in contested divorces is the feeling that someone has been wrongfully accused of something. If you feel like your partner has unjustly laid all the blame on you, then a contested divorce might be for you.

They Want Full Custody

When there are children involved in a relationship, it can get complicated, and emotions could come into play. For example, contested divorcing couples often fight about who gets full custody of their kids. If this sounds like what’s happening between you and your partner when discussing child care plans, then maybe a contested divorce is right for you.

The Other Party Has Been Dishonest About Finances

Sometimes, there’s some dishonesty on what happened during the marriage when it comes to money matters. So these people may opt for court proceedings.

They Want Something in Writing

No matter what anyone says, people feel like there will never be any certainty as to who gets what until everything goes through some sort of legal process. If you’re afraid your spouse might try to take advantage of you, then get everything in writing through a contested divorce.

The Results Are Guaranteed

People trust that contested divorces will give them certainty in their future. For example, in an uncontested divorce, you have no idea when or if your spouse could change their mind again. But with a contested divorce, you won’t have to worry about anything like that ever happening.

There Are Assets Involved

If you’re going to be splitting up any assets that were considered part of your marital estate, then uncontested divorce might not be right for you. Instead, you’ll need a legal process where the judge has the final say over who gets what and how much they get paid.

Get a Contested Divorce Lawyer

It’s never easy to end a marriage, but when you have children and assets that need to be divided, the process can be even more difficult. To help make things easier for both parties involved in contested divorce proceedings, they need to understand what they’re getting into before filing for divorce.

Contested divorces can be difficult for anyone going through them. However, with an experienced lawyer on your side, they don’t need to feel as overwhelming. To find out more about contested divorces in Richmond, TX, or any other legal matter related to the family law field, contact our team of experts at The Vendt Law Firm today.