Contested Divorce Attorneys in Tulsa Supporting Clients Through Difficult Legal Battles
It’s rare for both parties in a divorce to immediately agree on every aspect. It’s normal for there to be some back and forth, and it’s even possible for mediation attempts to fail. Contested divorces can be more challenging and stressful to navigate, but having experienced legal representation on your side can make it easier. Knowing what to expect in a contested divorce and what you can do to facilitate the process can help you feel prepared.
If you are expecting to have a contested divorce or find yourself already in that process, the attorneys at Parsons, Graham & Day, LLC, can help. We understand how difficult these situations can be and have helped countless clients protect their rights and interests as they go through this process. Call our office today to discuss your case and find out what we can do for you.
What Makes a Divorce Qualify as Contested?
There are two categories for divorce: contested and uncontested. An uncontested divorce means that both parties are in agreement in ending their marriage and that they agree on the terms of the divorce. A contested divorce is when the parties are not able to agree on at least one issue, such as child custody or asset division. It’s also possible that the parties aren’t able to agree on anything. Very contentious contested divorces are often referred to as high-conflict divorces within the family law system.
What Has to Be Decided During Divorce?
What needs to be decided during a divorce depends on the assets and debts and whether there are children involved. These are the main decisions that need to be made during a divorce:
Property division: This includes all the assets and the debts. In general, the courts want to see a fair and equitable settlement, but this doesn’t always have to mean a 50/50 split.
Spousal support: Whether spousal support comes into play depends on how long the parties were married and the relative income earning potential of both parties.
Child custody: If children were a result of the marriage, a determination on legal child custody and parenting time must be made. Oklahoma does not presume that joint legal custody is the best option. Instead, it awards custody and parenting time based on what’s in the best interests of the children.
Child support: Child support is calculated with a formula that takes into consideration the incomes of both parents. However, there may be cause for deviation up or down, depending on the circumstances.
If you have questions about any part of this process, our Oklahoma Family Law attorneys can help.
How Do I File a Contested Divorce?
To file a contested divorce, you need to serve your spouse with a divorce petition. This lists the grounds for divorce and what you would like to see happen for all the terms of your divorce, such as child custody and spousal support. Your spouse will then have 20 days to file a response. In a contested divorce, this is likely to be a counterclaim petition where they outline what they want the terms to be.
Depending on the county you live in, you may be required to go through a mandatory mediation process before you can go forward with a divorce trial. If the mediation is unsuccessful and there are still terms you can’t agree on, the case goes to trial.
Do Contested Divorces Take Longer to Finalize?
Contested divorces can take much longer to finalize than uncontested divorces. If the two parties aren’t able to agree on the terms of the divorce, it means that the judge must make the decisions. And to do that, they need to hear evidence and witness testimony from both sides — on each issue. This can take months and sometimes even years in very complicated cases. Understanding that a contested divorce is a time-consuming process can help you have a better idea of what to expect and how to plan your life while it’s ongoing.
Is Mediation Helpful in a Contested Divorce?
While mediation may not be what you think of when it comes to contested divorce, it is possible for mediation to be helpful during this process. For example, even if you aren’t able to come to an agreement on every single aspect of the divorce, deciding half of them during one day of mediation can save months at trial. This can speed up the divorce process and save you money on attorney fees and court costs. In some cases, it’s even possible for mediation to go so well that a contested divorce becomes an uncontested divorce, and the parties are in agreement on all aspects.
Why Do I Need an Oklahoma Contested Divorce Attorney?
A contested divorce is even more emotionally fraught than usual, and it’s easy to lose sight of the goal — moving on with your life in a positive and productive manner — when you’re in the middle of it. Working with a divorce attorney means that you have someone you can trust to represent your interests in court and talk to your ex and their legal representation on your behalf.
It’s not unusual for a divorce that starts off amicable to suddenly turn sour. This often happens when one person starts to date again or when the reality of having to financially support yourself independently sets in. If and when this happens, you want a legal team that is ready to pivot and protect your rights and interests. The attorneys at Parsons, Graham & Day, LLC, have experience with high-conflict cases and contested divorces and are able to provide legal counsel and represent you through this process. Call our office at 918-553-5771 to get started.