Contested Divorce

702 565-4335

Every divorce case falls into one of two categories—uncontested divorce or contested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, both spouses come to an amicable agreement on division of assets, child custody, and all other issues relating to the dissolution of their marriage. There is no need for the intervention of a judge to settle matters. When the spouses cannot come to such an agreement, however, then the proceedings are classified as a contested divorce.

As you might expect, a contested divorce is much more complicated than the alternative. When spouses fail to agree on one or more matters, it becomes necessary to take the case to the courts—a process that can be quite lengthy and costly. Spouses will have to pay for a variety of expenses, including but not limited to lawyer fees, filing and serving fees, pre-trial fees, and—if necessary—appeal fees.

The need to pass through a number of different stages before arriving at a final judge’s decision means that divorce proceedings can drag on for a considerable period of time. What stages are involved in a contested divorce proceeding? The process runs approximately as follows:

Hire a contested divorce attorney – You may need to interview at least a few lawyers to find one you’re comfortable with. Once you have made a decision, expect your attorney to grill you about your divorce situation and ask you to hand over a number of documents relating to your case. From there, your contested divorce attorney will put together a petition.

Serve the divorce petition – Once the petition has been assembled, it is important to ensure that it is properly delivered to the other spouse.

Wait for the response to the petition – Under Nevada state law, the other spouse will have 20 days to file an Answer with the court. If they fail to do so, then you can ask the court for a default judgment in your favor. Usually, however, the other spouse manages to file a response in time, which brings us to the next stage—

Discovery – Both sides are granted the right to ask for pertinent documentation and information from the other side, such as income statements. This can be accomplished through the use of interrogatories, depositions, subpoenas, and other tools.

Settlement negotiations – Both sides then attempt to craft an out-of-court divorce agreement. If this fails—and it often does—then the spouses and their respective attorneys will have to go to court.

Court trial – Depending on the various nuances involved in the divorce case, the trial can be reasonably brief, excruciatingly long, or somewhere in between. Eventually, the judge will make a final decision regarding the contested matters (e.g., child support, division of property). But matters may not be over quite yet.

Appeal – If one spouse is unhappy with the judge’s ruling, then an appeal may be in order, which means that the divorce proceedings will continue.

It should be clear by now that these kinds of divorce proceedings can be very complex and difficult to navigate. That’s why it’s important to have a contested divorced attorney in your corner who has experience with all aspects of these kinds of cases (e.g., petitions, interrogatories, motions to modify) as well as the ins and outs of the Nevada family law legal system. Contact the Las Vegas divorce lawyers at the McFarling Law Group today.