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Ending a marriage is rarely an easy process. Even when two people agree on every part of their split, it’s emotionally draining. When you and your partner disagree on parts of the process, it’s even worse.

That’s why contested divorces are so challenging to live through. Keep reading to learn what contested divorces are and how you can resolve your conflicts more quickly.

What Is Contested Divorce?

A contested divorce is just what it sounds like. It’s a legal split in which the partners argue about, or contest, how things will be resolved. You or your spouse may contest things like the division of assets, child custody, alimony, and much more. All that matters is that you disagree about how the legalities will be handled.

The Difference Between Contested and Uncontested Divorces

The opposite of a contested separation is an uncontested divorce. In uncontested splits, you and your partner completely agree about how each legal element is handled. Uncontested divorces are simpler to handle but uncommon simply because divorcing couples rarely agree on everything. In an uncontested separation, the process is as simple as bringing your proposed legal agreements to the court and having the judge sign off on them.

Contested splits take more work. If you and your spouse can’t agree on your own, the legal system steps in. One way or another, someone else will help you make decisions about who gets what when you’re officially split.

How to Resolve a Contested Divorce

So how is someone else supposed to help you come to an agreement? Simple. There are three ways you can resolve a contested divorce:

Mediation: In mediation, you and your spouse (and your lawyers) work with a paid mediator. The mediator acts as a buffer, helping you talk out your disagreements and offering suggestions for solutions. All the mediator can do is offer suggestions, though, so they can’t help you if your spouse isn’t willing to compromise.

Arbitration: In arbitration, you two (and your lawyers) work with an arbiter. The arbiter will also sit down with you and discuss your wants and concerns. However, the arbiter has the right and responsibility to make a legally binding decision regarding your divorce. At the end of the process, whatever the arbiter says, goes. You also need to pay the arbiter for their services. Still, arbitration is more personal and private than going to court.

Court: The last and most common option is to go to court. You’ll attend court hearings with your attorneys, and the judge will hear both sides’ arguments and the facts about your estate. Everything about a court case is a matter of public record, though, and it can take months to get a hearing.

While there’s no right way to resolve a divorce, you always need to work with a qualified attorney. Whether you choose mediation, arbitration, or court, your attorney will help you negotiate and fight for the results you want. Reach out today to discuss your case with the experienced Bay Area divorce attorneys at Viola Law Firm P.C. You don’t need to face your divorce alone. Let us help.