How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take?

Contested-DivorceHow Long Does a Contested Divorce Take?

Going through a divorce can be difficult, but it may be much more challenging when one party contests the divorce. When that happens, the divorce process becomes more lengthy, and it can extend how long it takes to complete the process. In North Carolina, couples must be separated for a period of at least a year before they can move forward with a divorce. Although a couple resides apart, one party may not agree with the divorce or with some of the settlement terms. An experienced North Carolina divorce attorney will help guide the process and assist in resolving disputes.


What is a Contested Divorce?

A contested divorce is one in which parties disagree. One or the other spouse may dispute the terms of the divorce settlement, resulting in a contested divorce. Settlement terms include such things as the distribution of property and assets, child custody and visitation, spousal maintenance, and more. Many of these issues can be contentious, even if the couple agrees in general principle. Quickly resolving disputes will help to make the divorce process easier and faster. An experienced divorce attorney will help facilitate your divorce.


Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “How should I prepare if I intend to file for divorce in the near future?”


Property Distribution

North Carolina laws require marital property to be divided between spouses in a fair manner. Equitable distribution means that the assets and property must be divided between spouses in a way that is fair to both. Equitable does not necessarily mean the same thing as equal. Spouses often disagree when it comes to the distribution of their assets. To avoid a lengthy battle, couples will want to communicate with their spouse. This can sometimes be accomplished more effectively with help from your lawyer.


Child Custody and Visitation

In North Carolina, both parents are generally allowed to spend time with their children following divorce. Parents may share legal child custody, which allows them to make important decisions on behalf of the child. Children typically reside primarily with one parent and have visitation with the other. A parenting plan is a document that will assist in defining parenting guidelines and provide parents with the rules they follow for when, how, and for how long they will spend time with their child. Working out a fair parenting plan will alleviate disagreements about child custody and visitation.cutting-the-cake-Charlotte-Monroe-Lake-Norman-Alimony-attorney



Alimony, also called spousal support, is money that one spouse gives the other following a divorce. Alimony may be temporary or permanent. Typically, the judge may order alimony only in cases where a spouse requires money due to specific circumstances. There are many factors that the judge will use to determine alimony. Some of these factors include the length of the marriage, the ages and health of the spouses, the wealth and lifestyle of the spouses, and more. In general, both spouses should have the money they need for their expenses after the divorce.


Resolving Disputes

Disputes are common in many divorce proceedings. To keep the process easier and more agreeable, you will want to try to resolve disputes as soon as they occur. Your attorney will be instrumental in assisting with immediate dispute resolution. If you cannot come to a compromise with your spouse, you may benefit from mediation. A mediator is a third party who works to facilitate resolution in divorce matters.


Divorce is never easy, but you can try to keep the process easier with a qualified divorce attorney in your corner. Your lawyer will work on your behalf to ensure a smooth and easy process. If you are seeking a divorce in North Carolina, get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.






The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.



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