A contested divorce is a divorce case where there are one or more issues relating to the dissolution of the marriage that have not been settled between the parties. The issues that tend to be the hardest to resolve are those relating to custody and child support. These tend to be the most complicated things and the hardest for people to resolve by way of agreement. If you are considering getting a Fairfax contested divorce, get in touch with an experienced divorce lawyer, who will be able to guide you through this process.

Protecting the Interests of Children

The reason for coming to the attorney is to advise parents about what to do and what not to do in terms of minimizing the impact on children. However, in some cases, it is also necessary to have an attorney appointed whose job it is to represent and make recommendations to the court that address the best interests of the children. That attorney will be called a Guardian ad Litem and their job would be to meet with the children, to see the children interact with each parent, and collect whatever information is necessary in order to enable the Guardian ad Litem to make a recommendation to the court regarding child-related issues, in a Fairfax contested divorce case.

How Judges Approach Contested Divorce

In the Fairfax court system, judges believe strongly that resolving a divorce case by agreement is by far the better way for the parties to complete their divorce case. When an attorney goes to court with their client in a contested divorce case, oftentimes before opening statements commence and the presentation of evidence, the judge will give a speech to the parties indicating to them how strongly they believe it is in their interest to settle their case. Oftentimes, the court will ask the parties if they want an opportunity to go outside and try and resolve certain issues before the trial commences. However, the judges understand that there are some cases that simply cannot be resolved and as a result, if the parties are going forward, then the judges treat Fairfax contested divorce cases as they would in any other case.

Role of Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation

Litigation would be the avenue that the parties pursue if they are not able to resolve one or more of the issues that are raised in their divorce case, like custody, visitation, or support. However, if there are contested issues in the divorce case, the parties have the option of engaging in mediation, which is a cooperative means by which the parties can try to settle their case. However, it does not require an outcome of the settlement. Arbitration is a process where the parties can submit the issues to an arbitrator. So it still occurs outside of court but the difference between arbitration and mediation is arbitration necessarily results in a decision. The parties present their case to an arbitrator and the arbitrator decides on an outcome just as the judges are obliged.

How a Lawyer Can Help

A lawyer’s obligation in part is to advise the client of the various means of resolving the case including mediation, collaborative divorce and arbitration, and this is an important step for the attorney in fostering an amicable resolution for the parties. In most cases, it is in the parties’ best interests to settle their case outside of court, and so providing as much information as possible in terms of the means that are available to do that is a good part of a lawyer’s role in representing a client.

Role of a Lawyer

In a non-contested divorce, as compared to a contested divorce, oftentimes the client will come to the attorney with an outline of terms to which the parties have already agreed. In that case, the lawyer simply draws up an agreement and then ultimately processes the paperwork to get the divorce completed.

In a Fairfax contested divorce, the attorney’s job varies from advising the clients of their rights, pursuing release in a temporary scenario that the party may need such as continuation of health insurance, preservation of a marital estate, or support, and then ultimately the lawyer’s role is to prepare the best case that they can for the client and present it to the court and try and get the best outcome for their client. If you are considering getting a Fairfax contested divorce, contact an attorney who can advocate for you.