Military Family Divorce Center

Contested Military Divorce

Contested Military Divorce In Virginia

Contested Military Divorce In VirginiaIf you and your spouse disagree on any of the issues that must be settled in a divorce, even if you agree to divorce, you have a contested military divorce case.


In any divorce, the issues that have to be decided are what grounds you will be divorced upon; what property you own, whether the property is marital, separate or a combination of both; how the property will be divided; how debts will be divided; whether spousal support will be paid; where the children will live and what the parenting schedule will be (custody and visitation); and how much child support will be paid. You and your spouse can either use a non-court method to help you come to an agreement or you can use the court system.


If you have issues about which you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, you might have to go before a judge to resolve these issues.  While alternate dispute resolution (ADR) methods (see below) can resolve many issues without the need for a trial, sometimes there will be contentious disputes that require a trial to resolve.  A trial in a divorce case will involve presenting evidence in the form of documents, eliciting testimony, cross-examination of witnesses and other aspects of a civil trial.


There are certain types of issues that are more likely to result in a trial.  Contested child custody cases often must be resolved by trial if certain problematic issues are present, which include but are not limited to the following:


  • Child abuse or neglect by a parent or other member of a parent’s household
  • Parental substance abuse
  • Domestic violence by a parent
  • Incarceration of a parent
  • Serious felonies (i.e. violent felony offenses by a parent against the other parent or child)
  • Other parental fitness issues
  • Parental relocation


While these issues will sometimes be resolved through ADR, the contentious nature of parental fitness issues or other issues that make developing a parent plan extremely contentious increase the probability that a trial might be necessary.


There are also financial issues that mean a higher probability of the case proceeding to trial.  If the amount or duration of alimony is disputed or a party is hiding income or assets, a trial might be necessary.  Expert testimony might be required to ascertain the value of difficult to value assets or prove that income is being hidden or diverted.


While some people proceed through an uncontested divorce with limited legal representation, anyone involved in a contested divorce will need an experienced Virginia divorce lawyer.  The attorney can conduct discovery to obtain information and documents, retain experts regarding complex financial issues and advocate for your best interests inside the courtroom.


Non-court methods include informal negotiations, mediation, Collaborative Practice, lawyer-assisted negotiation, or arbitration. Using the court system is called litigation.