A “contested” divorce is one where the parties are in disagreement about at least one (and probably several) of the major issues that must be decided. This may include the division of property, the amount of support that must be paid and custody plans for the children.
Since a contested divorce means litigation, most couples seek to end their marriages through negotiations – but that’s not always the best plan. Here are good reasons to move toward litigation earlier rather than later:
Your spouse is a bully or a manipulator
If you feel intimidated by your spouse, how are you going to negotiate for a fair split of the marital assets or anything else? When your spouse has been physically or psychologically abusive or you believe that they have a narcissistic personality, negotiations may just give them the ability to keep tormenting you. Litigation might actually be the least stressful path.
Your spouse keeps reneging on their agreements
Maybe your spouse takes a passive-aggressive approach to your situation: They’ll agree to something in conversation with you and then deny it later. Maybe they’ll agree to some compromise on a particular issue one day, then refuse to sign the papers the next. It’s possible your spouse is just conflicted or flaky, but they could also be just delaying the inevitable as a way to maintain some semblance of control.
You think your spouse is lying to you about their assets
If you think that your spouse hasn’t been transparent about their financial holdings, litigation may be the only way to force their hand. The court can order more inquiries into their finances and can require accountability.
Your spouse is simply unwilling to be fair
Maybe they’re trying to punish you for leaving, or maybe they just really think that they deserve the lion’s share of everything you’ve gained during your marriage. Either way, you may need the court to take over so that your rights are protected.
Divorce is seldom an easy process, but you don’t have to go through it alone. You are entitled to consider all your legal options before you proceed.