When a couple decides to separate, the process is much more complicated than simply declaring to part ways. Instead, ending a marriage is a legal process that involves the courts, as well as numerous decisions along the way. The process of divorce is much simpler when the divorce is uncontested. If you are filing for a contested divorce in Massachusetts, it’s important that you understand the process, tips for navigating a contested divorce, and how our experienced divorce lawyer can help. 

What Is a Contested Divorce?

A contested divorce doesn’t mean that the divorce itself is contested (in fact, both parties may be very much in agreement that the divorce should happen); instead, it means that various issues in the divorce are contested. When a divorce is uncontested, on the other hand, both parties to the divorce agree about how the divorce should be settled. A contested divorce is complicated because issues must be resolved before the divorce can be finalized; this often means that parties turn to litigation and have the issues determined by a family law judge. 

Issues to Resolve in a Contested Divorce

All issues in a divorce must be resolved before the divorce can be finalized. Issues to resolve include:

  • How property will be divided;
  • How marital debts will be paid;
  • Whether or not alimony/spousal support will be part of the divorce settlement;
  • How custody of children will be shared; and
  • What the child support obligations of the non-custodial parent will be. 

Tips for Preparing for a Contested Divorce

If your divorce is contested (or if you assume it will be contested), it’s best to start preparing early on. Tips for preparing for a contested divorce include:

  • Itemize your assets and debts–work with a financial professional if need be;
  • Organize all documents–both financial and otherwise–and be prepared to share them with your attorney;
  • Have witnesses in mind who can speak to your parental abilities if you believe that child custody will be contested;
  • Plan to be honest–when you are getting a divorce, it can be tempting to misrepresent things in order to support your needs and desires, but lying or misrepresenting something can have very negative consequences; and 
  • Find a good lawyer fast–the earlier you start working with an experienced attorney, the stronger your case will be and the more prepared you’ll be should your case go to litigation. 

How Our Experienced Massachusetts Contested Divorce Lawyer Can Help

At the office of Heather Ward Law, Massachusetts divorce lawyer Heather M. Ward can help you to build your case, understand your options, and fight to secure a favorable case outcome. Attorney Heather M. Ward can gather evidence on your behalf, represent you in negotiations, and prepare your case for trial. To learn more about our divorce lawyer and to start the process of preparing for your contested divorce today, please call our law firm directly at (617) 903-8955 or send us a message online.