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How to Defend Yourself Against a Contested Divorce in Court

by | May 19, 2022

“Until death do us part.”

When you made this vow, you were happy and content. You were pleased and ready to start a life with your better half.

A few months and years into your marriage, trouble knocks. It could be something one of you did, or just a general sense of unhappiness. You know, sometimes people just drift apart. 

Whatever the reason, ending things in divorce could be your only option..

While you could get into a mutual agreement to end things amicably, this is not always the case. Sometimes, your spouse could decide to contest the divorce, leading to you having to sort things out in court. 

When this happens, the result could be a bitter battle for which you need to prepare yourself. 

In this guide, we explore contested divorces, what you can do to protect yourself, and why it is important that you get a divorce attorney. 

What is a Contested Divorce?

After years of marriage, ending things is not an easy process. There are property to divide, custody of children to consider, among an array of other things to resolve. When everyone agrees on the terms of the separation, no court is required.

A contested divorce is when one of you is not okay with all the divorce terms.

Whenever possible, you should always aim to end things amicably.  A contested divorce is very demanding since it’ll involves attending court proceedings, revisiting what was wrong with your marriage, and sometimes even putting your children in compromising positions. 

Why would you Contest a Divorce?

Separating after years of marriage is not easy. The two of you will be sharing a lot, including children, the house, and finances.

The question becomes, who gets what?

Whenever one of you feels cheated on the terms of separation, contesting is the best way to go. It helps you get what you think is rightfully yours.

The reasons for a contested divorce include:

  • Concealment of assets
  • Child custody
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Abuse in marriage
  • Unrealistic demands from the other spouse

So, what do you do to protect yourself in such a scenario?

How to Protect yourself against a Contested Divorce?

Get a Family Attorney!

Do you want to win the case? Then you will need a competent and experienced family law attorney.

Court proceedings can be tiresome and gruesome. It’s significantly worse if the other party has a ruthless lawyer. Thus, trying to defend yourself could be detrimental. 

Get a firm or lawyer who can go head to head with the other lawyers. Your lawyer will also direct you to the dos and don’ts that will protect your position through the proceedings. 

Consider Staying in the Family Home or Nearby

If you have young children below the legal age, things can get more complicated. A custody battle is looming if you cannot agree to co-parent.

Moving out of your family home could influence the custody decision. Looking for a way to stay in the house peacefully is essential. You could also agree to have the family home until the case is closed.

However, be careful not to rub shoulders in this period. The tension between you could lead to both verbal and physical abuse.

You could also look for a hotel near the house if friction is inevitable.

Keep and Make Copies of Important Documentation

Gather all important documents immediately after you feel a divorce is loomnig. Look for your personal documents, including birth certificates, school records, and other important papers.

Additionally, gather jointly owned documents and records and make various copies. Ensure you keep a copy safe, and give your partner the other copy. 

Jointly owned documents could include property titles, deeds, bank records, and tax records. You will need to prove your case in court if the problem lies with a division of property and finances. 

Cancel Jointly-Held Credit Cards

The divorce period can be stressful for both parties. You could quickly get frustrated and find yourselves making poor decisions. Among these decisions are those involving your finances.

A jointly owned credit card could cause harm in the divorce process. You and your spouse will be responsible for any credit taken before the divorce is finalized. 

If you don’t set clear usage terms, your partner could take advantage and head for a spending spree. It would significantly affect your credit score and credit report.

Also, remember to cancel all unneeded expenses like cable and extra telephone lines. 

The process is short and easy, and it will save you from unnecessary financial baggage.

Document Your Marital Property

Take good documentation of everything you owned as a couple. The best way to record the property is through video and pictures.

Ensure you capture everything, including things in drawers and storage. Afterward, make two copies and give one to your spouse. It is also helpful if you took the documentation in their presence. 

NOTE: Ensure the date function of the camera is working correctly. It will prove the day you took the recording. 

Keep your copy in a safe place and wait for the court or your lawyer to request for it.

Finally, ensure you keep all your personal property safe. It could include stamps and collections. Avoid keeping jointly owned property. 

Avoid Signing Anything

Some spouses and their lawyers could be cunning and dangerous. So it shouldn’t be surprising if they used dubious tactics on you.

Refrain from signing any document or preliminary agreements. Some lawyers could create documents with loopholes to trap you and win the case.

Always refer to your lawyer when asked to sign anything. They’re best placed to identify any traps or loopholes within the document. 

Get the Most Effective Help

Divorce proceedings can be emotionally draining. Contested divorces will break you emotionally, financially, and mentally. Therefore, it would be best to let someone with experience and expertise guide and represent you. 

At Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C., we understand your need to deal with the divorce peacefully. We have over 40 years of experience in family law in the Wisconsin area and will represent you wholeheartedly. 

Our pointed Wisconsin divorce lawyer will offer personalized services to meet your needs and give you a favorable outcome. So give us a call today, and we will deliver the desired result. 

Written by Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C.

Divorce | Family Law

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