A contested divorce is one in which the parties do not agree on the terms of the divorce. A contested divorce can take months or years to resolve. Some contested cases will eventually lead to trial. Often the parties agree on the need for divorce; however, they are unwilling to cooperate to finalize the process. Attorneys for the parties and the court will use reasonable efforts to resolve the case and bring it to trial. Ultimately, it is the parties themselves who must stipulate that the case be completed.
Contested divorce cases can be quite expensive, as attorneys often charge by the hour for office time and court time. Many small fortunes have been spent on legal fees for a failed marriage. It is generally in the best interest of the parties to achieve a speedy resolution of the case.
A problem can cause a case to be contested. The parties can agree on everything except custody, maintenance, visitation or division of the property. This area of disagreement can put a case on trial. Although the court will do everything in its power to try to get the parties to reach an agreement, there are cases where the court must hold a hearing and allow the parties to present their cases.
A trial can last less than a day in a simple case or it can last weeks in a difficult case. Cases involving custody disputes require more time and interaction between the parties, witnesses, and the court.