A divorce can turn volatile when the parties can’t agree on how to split assets. Oklahoma courts call this a contested divorce. The conflict doesn’t necessarily mean animosity between the parties, but a contested divorce does complicate the separation, prolonging the process, increasing legal fees and potentially adding stress.
Areas of disagreement
It’s not unusual for a divorce to go from uncontested to contested; these legal disputes evolve out of a number of issues. You may be in disagreement over child custody or who should keep the vacation home. It’s best to have this conversation before filing a petition or complaint.
Pick a method of resolution
You want to avoid going before a judge. Mediation is actually a cooperative, amicable process. There’s also collaborative divorce. Alternative dispute resolution typically requires lawyers on both sides, neutral mental health specialists, financial experts and, if necessary, an advocate for any children.
Obtain final judgment
Even after coming to an agreement, you need a final judgment to legalize the negotiations. You must obtain the signature of a judge. In Oklahoma, if everyone agrees with the terms, neither spouse has to appear in court.
When all else fails
When one spouse contests a divorce, the dissolution of the marriage cannot be satisfied until several steps get accomplished. These include the following:
- A divorce petition needs preparing, filing and serving.
- There has to be a response to the petition.
- You may want to interview and commission an attorney.
- Begin the “divorce discovery,” information gathering from any and all parties for questioning, depositions and, if necessary, subpoenas.
- There will be pre-trial hearings and motions.
- Counsel will discuss settlement negotiations and proposals.
- If negotiations fail, a trial date will be set.
- You must complete the trial.
- If court decisions are unsatisfying, you can file an appeal.
Uncontested divorces give both spouses a chance to address issues together. Knowing the divorce process and working in a collaborative environment can make any conflicts easier to manage.