When one spouse decides to get a divorce and the couple cannot agree upon the terms, the couple has a contested divorce. Contested divorces could be bitter, expensive, and time-consuming, but they do not need to be that way. A couple can have an amicable divorce even though it is contested, and a trusted divorce attorney at Carmiece Graves Law could help walk you through your options.

Even when you and your spouse have not agreed upon the details regarding a divorce, an Upper Marlboro contested divorce lawyer could provide much-needed guidance. Our team could protect your rights while also helping you toward reaching your goals.

Issues a Divorce Must Resolve

Before dissolving their marriage, a divorcing couple must untangle their legal and financial lives. When the couple has a contested divorce, there are outstanding issues that must be resolved before a court can issue a divorce decree. When the couple cannot negotiate a satisfactory settlement while the divorce is pending, the judge will hold a trial and decide the remaining issues.

Property Division

Maryland Code Family Law § 8-205 requires an equitable division of marital assets. This division does not mean half of the assets go to each spouse. If a judge must decide on property division, they will consider each party’s contribution to the marriage, the value of each spouse’s personal property, and their earning capacity after divorce. Judges generally honor agreements the spouses make together to divide their property and debts.


Either spouse could seek ongoing financial support from the other. Courts often award temporary alimony while a divorce is pending to help the couple establish separate households.

When one spouse demonstrates a need and shows that the other spouse has the means, a court might order rehabilitative alimony. One spouse would make payments to the other for a set time while the other spouse gets the education, credentials, or experience they need to become self-supporting. If there is little chance the spouse could ever become self-supporting, or if no alimony would mean that the former spouses had vastly different lifestyles, a court could order indefinite alimony.

Issues Relating to Children

When spouses are parents, they must determine how they will co-parent after their divorce by developing a parenting plan. These are detailed descriptions of where the children will live, when they will spend time with the non-residential parent, which parent will be responsible for transportation, how the parents will share decision-making authority and disputes between themselves, child support, and many other issues. Parents who cannot agree on a parenting plan must each submit a plan to the court.

All parenting plans are subject to judicial review, whether the parents agree and submit a joint plan, or each parent submits the plan they prefer. A judge will review parenting plans before issuing a divorce decree and will approve a plan only if it supports the best interests of the children. An Upper Marlboro attorney could explain the factors a judge considers in a contested divorce.

What Happens While the Divorce Is Pending?

In Upper Marlboro, a contested divorce begins when one spouse files for divorce with an attorney and the other spouse submits responsive papers called an answer, usually with counterclaims. Once the court receives documents from both parties, it puts the case on the docket and the process of discovery begins.

Discovery is the exchange of detailed financial information along with information about any other issues in dispute. Sometimes discovery includes written questions called interrogatories or an in-person questioning under oath in a deposition. The purpose of discovery is to unearth all the facts relevant to the divorce.

As discovery proceeds, the spouses or their attorneys negotiate. Couples often try mediation during this time to try to resolve their issues before a trial. Sometimes a judge will order the spouses to go to mediation before scheduling a trial. However, mediation is not always successful, and the couple may still need a judge to resolve outstanding issues.

Divorce Trials

When a couple cannot resolve one or more matters through negotiation, they must present their case to a judge at a trial. A trial could take half a day or several days to a week or longer, depending on the number of issues in dispute and their complexity.

A negotiated settlement is almost always preferable because it leaves the spouses in control of the decision. A judge’s decision might displease both parties, and they would have to appeal an unfavorable decision, which would increase the time until the divorce is final and would also add expense. An Upper Marlboro attorney at our firm would work diligently to present a strong and persuasive case that supports the spouse’s goals in a contested divorce.

Pursue a Contested Divorce With an Upper Marlboro Attorney Today

A contested divorce could be stressful, but working with an experienced attorney may help ease your anxiety. Turn to a diligent legal professional at Carmiece Graves Law who will never lose sight of your goals and advocate for you.

Contact an Upper Marlboro contested divorce lawyer at our firm for a consultation regarding your situation as soon as you decide to end your marriage.