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How to Settle a Contested Divorce in California

Deciding to end your marriage is never an easy experience, but if you and your spouse cannot agree on critical issues regarding how to separate your lives, the situation can be particularly stressful. This is known as a contested divorce, and it requires an experienced divorce attorney to settle your case. At the law office of Kearney Baker in Pasadena, our highly qualified lawyers have successfully represented many clients in their contested divorce cases and are available for a free consultation on your legal needs. Call or contact the office today.

Contested Versus Uncontested Divorce

All divorce cases are either labeled as contested or uncontested cases. A contested divorce means that there are one or more issues you and your spouse cannot agree on regarding your divorce. Most often, a contested issue involves the division of marital property, spousal support, child custody and visitation, or child support. A divorce agreement cannot be finalized until all contested issues are settled between spouses. In an uncontested divorce, the couple agrees on all terms pertaining to their divorce. An uncontested divorce is typically faster due to the lack of negotiation required to settle the marital estate.

California as a Community Property State

When it comes to dividing the marital estate, all states either operate as equitable distribution or community property states. California uses community property rules to divide marital assets and debts in a divorce. This means that all marital property is split equally, 50/50, between spouses in a divorce. However, this only applies to property that was acquired during the course of the marriage or separate property that was commingled into the marital estate. All property that a spouse brought with them to the marriage and remained separate goes back to the spouse in a divorce.

How to Resolve a Contested Divorce

There are a few different options when it comes to resolving a contested divorce, but all should be done with the help of an attorney who is an expert in California divorce law. The most common option is through traditional litigation. This involves going to court and arguing the contested issues in front of a judge, who then renders an opinion on the matter. This is typically the lengthiest and most costly option for resolution. Another option is to utilize divorce mediation, where a neutral third-party mediator helps to negotiate a settlement on the contested issues outside of the courtroom with the spouses and their attorneys. This option is typically cheaper and faster than traditional litigation but requires that both spouses are open to negotiation on the issues. The final option is collaborative divorce, which is similar to mediation but involves a team of professionals who collaborate with the spouses as a group to find a solution to any contested issues that fits everyone’s needs.

Call or Contact the Office

To learn more about contested divorces in California and what your options are for settling your outstanding divorce matters, call or contact the experienced divorce attorneys at Kearney Baker today for a free consultation of your case.

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