Welcome to Our Site!


A contested divorce is a divorce in which all the issues have not been agreed upon by the two parties. Child custody, parenting time, child support, division of marital property and debts, and alimony are decided at final trial; however, it can be a long process before you reach final trial.

The case begins with one party filing a Complaint for Divorce in the appropriate county, and the petition will generally be served either by the Sheriff or private process server. The person who files the case is the Plaintiff, and the other party is referred to as the Defendant. The Defendant is required to file a response to the Complaint.

Either party may seek a temporary hearing on temporary issues in the case, such as temporary child support, alimony, and custody. Additionally, there is a period known as discovery in which each party can seek information from the opposing party regarding issues in the case.

If custody or parenting time is in dispute between the parties, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem. A guardian ad litem represents the interests of the minor child or children. The guardian will usually be a lawyer, but in some counties may be a social worker or mental health professional. He or she investigates matters pertaining to the welfare of the child. The guardian’s role may include interviewing adults involved in the child’s life, evaluating legal and medical records, and recommending psychological evaluations for the parties if the circumstances warrant that type of evaluation. The guardian submits a recommendation to the judge on the custody and parenting time issues in the case.

Mediation is a process that is frequently used in contested divorce cases. In some counties in the metropolitan area, mediation is required by the judge before the Court will hold a hearing. In counties where mediation is not mandatory, it may be specifically ordered by the judge assigned to your case. In the mediation process, you and your spouse will be required to meet with a mediator to try to come to a settlement agreement in your case. If you and your spouse are represented by attorneys, your attorneys will also attend the mediation and assist you in the process. There will also be a mediator, who will have training and experience in the mediation process and will assist the parties in reaching a resolution. This can be a successful way to resolve your case without the expense and stress of a trial.

Ultimately, if the parties cannot reach agreement, the Court will set the matter for final trial. Questions of child custody and parenting time are decided by the judge. The judge (or jury if one of the parties has requested) will decide all of the financial issues of the marriage, such as division of property, division of debts, alimony and certain findings concerning child support. At the final trial, both spouses may present evidence by his or her own testimony and may call other witnesses. If a guardian has been appointed, he or she will also testify. The decision rendered by a judge or jury is written into a court order that is binding upon both parties and which is called a Final Judgment and Decree.

A contested divorce can be a lengthy and unpredictable process. Sharmila has substantial experience litigating contested divorce cases throughout the Atlanta area and can help you navigate the process smoothly.