Surrey Contested Divorce Lawyer
A contested divorce is when both spouses are not in agreement about matters pertaining to their divorce. These matters can include spousal support, child support, custody or access and possibly property division issues.
Regardless of the issue involved, Christ & Co can assist you with handling your contested divorce and moving on with your life.
We specialize in coming up with simple solutions to what may at first seem like a complex problem. Contact our Surrey contested divorce lawyer today.
You and your spouse can be divorced by demonstrating to the court that a year of separation has occurred – there is no need to prove adultery or cruelty. That is the essence of “no-fault” divorce.
However, the “no-fault divorce” can become a “contested divorce” when you and your spouse can’t agree on the collateral issues: child or spousal support, apportioning of property and debt, child custody and parenting issues (especially visitation schedules).
Once a divorce application is commenced, if you and your spouse cannot agree on all the collateral issues (support, parenting and the division of property and debt) the court will be forced to substitute its decision in the absence of an agreement between spouses.
The court process is long, very stressful and expensive for both parties – and hard on any children of the marriage – and often during the course of litigation the parties are always encouraged to reach an agreement between themselves in the form of a Separation Agreement or Minutes of Settlement.
Your spouse’s initial, stubborn, unyielding resolve will undoubtedly weaken as the trial date grows nearer and financial resources dwindle and many settlements are achieved on the courthouse steps on the day of the trial.
Christ & Co. favours a collaborative approach when dealing with your spouse’s counsel. We always encourage settlement – early and often – throughout the entire divorce process from start to conclusion.
A contested divorce starts out like an uncontested desk order divorce with the filing and the serving of a Notice of Family Claim on your spouse – it is only when your spouse files a Response to Family Claim that the divorce becomes contested.
In many cases you and your spouse may be able to resolve the issues raised in the Response to Family Claim fairly quickly. If your lawyer – and your spouse’s lawyer can resolve the issues in dispute in a collaborative manner the “contested” stage of the divorce can be ended with some form of written settlement agreement.
There will be an opportunity, prior to trial, for a judge, other than the one who will try your case, to give his or her opinion as to what the issues would be at trial and which spouse might be favoured to win on these issues. This is a valuable experience for both spouses who can obtain a measure of how an experienced judge might rule in their case.
If not, the still “contested” divorce will continue to trial and a judge will decide the unresolved issues.
you might still be able to reach an agreement on your parenting, support, and property and debt issues. See Who can help you reach an agreement? for more information.
If you can’t come to an agreement about all of your issues, a judge will decide at a trial.
It can take a long time to have a trial scheduled and the whole process is time-consuming, expensive, and stressful. It’s also very hard on any children involved. So before you go down that path, consider all the options for settling your differences.
If you’re waiting for a trial, you can ask the court to make interim orders. You can get interim orders about parenting and support in either Provincial Court or Supreme Court. You can get orders about property only in Supreme Court. (See our step-by-step guide on how to get an interim order in Supreme Court if you and the other party can’t agree.)