Contested Divorces


The legal term for a divorce is dissolution. When the parties agree on all aspects of the dissolution, the divorce is uncontested. Frequently, however, the parties disagree on issues such as debt and property division, child support and/or custody, and spousal maintenance.

If you are facing a contested dissolution as the petitioner or the respondent, you should seek legal counsel. Ronald V. Thomas, a Scottsdale divorce attorney, possesses the knowledge and skills to vigorously represent clients in their contested dissolutions.


Filing the Summons and Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the court initiates a dissolution. The filing party is the “Petitioner” and the other party is the “Respondent.”

Once those documents are filed, they must be formally delivered, or “served,” to Respondent. Respondent is required to file with the court and serve on Petitioner, within a specified time, a response to the Petition. A party wishing to contest a divorce must file a Response to the Petition for Dissolution.

If Respondent fails to timely file a Response, he or she may waive, or lose, the right to contest the divorce. A petitioner may ask the court to enter Respondent’s default, which means the court will decide the case without Respondent’s participation. Should the Court enter a default against Respondent, legal strategies are available to possibly “vacate,” or void, the default and provide Respondent with an additional opportunity to file a Response and contest the divorce.

Once Respondent files a Response, the court may require the parties to attend an Early Resolution Management Conference in an attempt to reach an agreement on the contested issues. If the parties cannot agree, the court will set a trial date. The dissolution then enters the discovery process, which includes depositions, written questions called interrogatories, and document production. During this phase, the parties are gathering evidence regarding disputed issues.

The dissolution becomes final after the parties settle the contested issues, or post-trial.


Our firm’s Scottsdale divorce attorney understands that contested divorces can be contentious and complex. Mr. Thomas is an experienced, zealous advocate who provides his clients with personal attention and care to successfully resolve their contested dissolutions.