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Is It Worth Contesting a Divorce in California?

Why Contesting a Divorce in California Could Be Right for You

Divorce is never an easy process. It’s a path laden with emotional, financial, and legal challenges. When spouses choose to end their marriage in California, they often wonder if it’s worth contesting the divorce. The answer, as with many legal questions, is: it depends. At Fair Cadora, we’ve assisted numerous San Diego residents through contested and uncontested divorces, and can offer insights into the pros and cons of contesting your divorce in California. 

Understanding Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

Before delving into the decision to contest a divorce, it’s crucial to distinguish between an uncontested and a contested divorce in San Diego:

  • Uncontested Divorce: Both spouses agree on all aspects of ending the marriage. This includes division of property, child custody, spousal support, and other critical matters. It’s typically quicker and less costly. Even if you believe you and your spouse will agree on every matter, a small discrepancy can open the door for more contention. 
  • Contested Divorce: Here, spouses disagree on one or more issues, necessitating court or attorney intervention to resolve the disputes. 

Reasons to Contest a Divorce

Contesting a divorce can be a significant decision, and there are various reasons individuals might choose to do so. Here are six reasons someone might decide to contest a divorce in California:

  • Child Custody and Welfare: Perhaps one of the most significant reasons for contesting a divorce revolves around disputes related to child custody. Parents might have differing views on what’s best for their children in terms of living arrangements, education, and other important life aspects. Ensuring the welfare and best interests of the child is a top priority for many parents.
  • Division of Assets and Property: California is a community property state, which means assets acquired during the marriage are generally divided equally. However, disputes can arise regarding the value of assets, what constitutes community property, or how specific assets should be divided.
  • Spousal Support (Alimony): The amount and duration of spousal support can be contentious. One party might think they are entitled to more support due to sacrifices made during the marriage, while the other might think that the demands are excessive.
  • Child Support: Beyond custody issues, the financial aspect of raising a child can also be a point of contention. One parent might think the calculated child support isn’t adequate, while the other might believe it’s more than necessary.
  • Misconduct or Fault: While California is a no-fault divorce state (meaning you don’t need to prove wrongdoing to get a divorce), issues of misconduct, like infidelity or financial deceit, can still influence aspects like spousal support or asset division. Contesting the divorce might be a way for an aggrieved party to bring these issues to light.
  • Protection of Personal or Business Assets: For individuals with significant personal or business assets, there might be concerns about protecting these assets in a divorce, especially if there are disputes about which assets are considered marital property.

While there are legitimate reasons to contest a divorce, it’s essential to weigh the emotional, financial, and time costs associated with a contested divorce. A reputable San Diego divorce and family law firm can provide guidance on the potential benefits and drawbacks of contesting a divorce in any specific situation. 

Potential Downsides of Contesting a Divorce in California 

Divorce is challenging no matter how contested the split is. Again, every divorce is unique but there can be potential downsides of contesting a divorce in San Diego should your situation require it: 

  • Higher Legal Costs: A contested divorce often requires more attorney billable hours, expert fees, and possibly even trial. This can significantly increase your expenses.
  • Emotional Toll: Prolonged court battles can be draining, not just for the spouses but for the entire family, and can be especially detrimental to children.
  • Time Consumption: Contested divorces take longer, sometimes even years, to finalize.
  • Uncertainty: When you leave decisions up to a judge, there’s no guarantee that the outcome will be in your favor.

Other Factors to Consider

  • Is the Dispute Genuine? Before diving into a contested divorce, it’s essential to evaluate whether the disagreement is genuinely about an issue of substance or if emotions are driving the contention.
  • Is Not Contesting an Option? In some situations, a contested divorce is the only option. If divorcing a narcissist or abusive spouse, it is not likely you’ll be able to complete your divorce uncontested. 
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution: Mediation and collaborative divorce are options where a neutral third party helps couples negotiate and reach agreements. They can be less adversarial and more cost-effective than traditional litigation.
  • Legal Guidance: Speak to experienced attorneys, like those at Fair Cadora, who can provide insights specific to your situation.

Navigating Divorce in San Diego

The decision to contest a divorce is deeply personal and should be made after careful consideration of the facts, potential outcomes, and your emotional and financial wellbeing. For some, contesting is a necessary step to ensure a fair outcome. For others, the costs—both emotional and financial—may outweigh the potential benefits.

In any scenario, it’s crucial to have a knowledgeable and compassionate legal team by your side. At Fair Cadora, our primary goal is to guide San Diego residents through these challenging times, ensuring that they make informed decisions that align with their best interests.
If you’re navigating the complexities of divorce in California, reach out to the legal team at Fair Cadora. Let’s discuss the specifics of your situation and determine the best path forward.

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