It should be no surprise that divorcing couples are not on the same page about everything. Some fortunate couples can agree on all major issues and get a quick uncontested divorce, but most couples need to pursue divorce through the court system.
A contested divorce does not mean it must be bitter or contentious. Working with a capable attorney can keep the focus where it should be—on resolving the matters in dispute as quickly as possible, keeping in mind the impact divorce disputes can have on the couple’s children.
Most contested divorces never go to trial because the parties settle while the matter is pending. A negotiated settlement is almost always preferable because it keeps control in the spouses’ hands. A Junction City contested divorce lawyer could discuss a person’s goals for divorce and work diligently to achieve them. Reach out to a well-practiced divorce attorney today to schedule a private consultation.
Requirements to File for Divorce
Unlike many states, Kansas does not require spouses to be separated for a minimum period before filing for a divorce. However, one of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least 60 days before a divorce can be filed.
The petition must cite the grounds for divorce. Kansas Statute Annotated § 23-2701 offers the no-fault ground of incompatibility. Choosing the no-fault grounds for divorce relieves both spouses of the obligation to prove their spouse was to blame for the marriage’s failure. The fault-based ground, “failure to perform a material marital duty or obligation,” requires one or both spouses to present proof of their spouse’s failure to live up to the obligations of marriage. The other ground for divorce is insanity or mental incapacity that resulted in at least two years of confinement to an institution.
Proving the grounds for divorce unnecessarily delays the divorce process, makes intimate personal details public, and presents no benefits to either party. An experienced contested divorce attorney in Junction City typically recommends a spouse choose the no-fault ground of incompatibility even if their spouse’s misbehavior led to the decision to divorce.
Resolving Financial Issues
When a couple divorces, they must divide their marital property. If they entered a valid prenuptial agreement, the agreement might establish the terms of the property division and whether one spouse will receive ongoing financial support. If the couple did not sign a prenuptial agreement, they must negotiate property division and spousal support at the time of separation.
Marital property is everything either spouse acquired while married, except inheritances and gifts made solely to one spouse. Everything else is marital property regardless of who paid for it or whose name is on the title or deed. The law requires a fair division of property, which in most cases means relatively equal. The couple also must determine whether one spouse requires ongoing financial support, called maintenance.
The couple must exchange financial information in a contested divorce. A diligent Junction City matrimonial attorney could review and verify the information, and work with the other spouse’s attorney to achieve reasonable property division and maintenance arrangements that are fair to both parties.
Developing a Workable Parenting Plan
When a divorcing couple has minor children, they must decide how they will co-parent. The court requires them to develop a parenting plan that designates which parent will provide the children’s main residence, how much parenting time the non-residential parent will have, and how the parents will share decision-making responsibility. The law refers to decision-making authority as legal custody.
Courts strongly prefer parents to form a parenting plan together. If the parents and their attorneys cannot agree on a plan, courts will often order the parents to mediation. If mediation fails to produce an agreement, each parent will submit their preferred parenting plan to the court, and the judge will pick one or devise a plan that supports the children’s best interests.
A capable contested divorce lawyer in Junction City could help a parent focus on the children’s needs for stability and support when negotiating a parenting plan. If the couple works with a mediator, the legal professional could provide guidance throughout the process and formalize the couple’s agreement in a legal document to submit for the court’s approval.
Navigate Your Split with a Junction City Contested Divorce Attorney
Uncontested divorce might not be an option for couples with complicated finances or strongly differing opinions about their children. Although a contested divorce takes longer and is more expensive than an uncontested divorce, a couple that commits to resolving their issues could accomplish a contested divorce without bitterness or drama.
A Junction City contested divorce lawyer is prepared to bring your divorce case to trial but works to avoid that result. Call today to discuss your situation with a seasoned divorce attorney.