Austin Contested Divorce Attorney

contested divorce

Divorce can be a stressful and emotionally draining process. Issues involving children, money, and property have high stakes, and both parties will typically look to protect themselves and their interests first. Because of this natural inclination, the process of divorce can quickly become contentious and will often require experienced legal representation to resolve.

At Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., our Austin divorce attorneys have extensive experience helping people in contested divorces and move on to a better, brighter future. Our goal is to protect your rights and interests and provide knowledgeable counsel every step of the way.

Call us today for a confidential consultation and learn how a lawyer can help you.

What Is a Contested Divorce?

A contested divorce will often need to be resolved through negotiation and, potentially, litigation. The most commonly contested terms of divorce include:

  • Spousal maintenance
  • Debt and property division
  • Child custody and parental visitation
  • Child support

Some couples can resolve matters through mediation or other means of settling the issues without the court’s involvement. The court might even order alternative forms of dispute resolution before the couple can proceed with litigation. Often, your best option is to negotiate the terms so you can have a say in the final arrangements.

Who We Are and How We Can Help

Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., has over 55 years of experience representing individuals seeking a divorce in Central Texas. We have the resources and track record of success of a big law firm with the ability to provide the personal attention and customer service of a mid-sized firm.

Our reputation for successful representation of our clients has earned us various awards and recognition, including:

  • AV® rating from Martindale-Hubbell
  • 10.0 Superb rating by Avvo
  • Rising Star by Texas Super Lawyers
  • Member of the Best Lawyers in America

When you hire an Austin contested divorce attorney from Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., we’ll handle all the legal legwork required for your case. This process could include:

  • Determining whether you meet the requirements to file for divorce under state law
  • Gathering and evaluating financial documents to determine the value of assets, prove the need for spousal maintenance, or divide shared debt
  • Negotiating a custody arrangement that keeps your children happy and safe
  • Guiding you through each step and informing you of what to expect so you can prepare
  • Negotiating terms before divorce proceedings to protect your interests and prevent future problems
  • Providing advice on your actions and decisions during the legal process and how they might affect the outcome of your case
  • Explaining your rights regarding the division of property and whether you are entitled to certain assets
  • Representing you during hearings
  • Litigating your case in court, if necessary

Common Methods of Settling Contested Divorces

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is an alternate method of settling the terms of a divorce without the court’s involvement. Many divorcing couples choose ADR after filing for divorce, so they don’t have to depend on a judge to decide for them.

The most common types of ADR during a contested divorce include:

  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Couples counseling
  • Consulting family members
  • Settlement negotiations
  • Litigation


Mediation is one of the most common types of ADR used in divorce proceedings. Each spouse and their attorneys meet with a mediator in an informal setting. The mediator is a neutral third party who directs the negotiations.

A mediator doesn’t make decisions on behalf of the couple or issue legal judgments. Their job is to communicate each side’s position to the other and offer solutions to resolve the issues.

The final decision is ultimately up to the spouses. They can use the mediator’s recommendations or pursue another ADR method or litigation.


Arbitration is similar to mediation. However, the main difference is the arbitrator has the authority to settle the matter for the couple and issue a decision.

Unlike a judgment issued during a trial, couples can’t appeal an arbitrator’s ruling. That means after each spouse presents their case, they have no control over the final decision.

Couples Counseling

Most people think couples counseling is for spouses who want to work out their differences to save the marriage. However, it can also benefit couples while navigating the complexities of a divorce.

Instead of spending time arguing about the terms and facing challenges settling the disputes you face, you can bring your issues to a counselor. Counseling is a way to present your problems to an unbiased party who can help guide each spouse through this harrowing situation.

A couples counselor will hear both sides and address the relevant aspects of the disagreements. They can help each person manage negative feelings about the divorce and negotiations while offering solutions to resolve conflicts amicably.

Consulting Family Members

Sometimes, your family knows you better than you know yourself. They also have the unique position of viewing your marriage from the outside. Although most people don’t know everything that happens in a couple’s marriage, they can offer perspective on some of your problems.

It may help to discuss the disputes you face in the divorce with your close family members. Ask for their opinions. Someone you trust and who knows your situation well could advise you on when you should dig in your heels and fight or let the issue slide and move on to the next term of the arrangement.

Settlement Negotiations

You and your spouse might decide to come together and try to negotiate the terms one last time before going to court. It’s beneficial to meet in a neutral location without any distractions.

It would help if you kept an open mind during the negotiation process. If either of you focuses too much on winning or being right instead of settling the matter, you likely won’t resolve anything.

Creating a list of talking points before the meeting is helpful. Discuss the terms important to you and what you hope to gain from the settlement. Keep your emotions in check and offer solutions that could benefit both of you.


A litigated divorce is another way of saying a contested divorce. You might need to proceed with litigation if you tried ADR unsuccessfully. When you litigate a divorce, you file a petition with the court and let a judge or jury decide the terms.

An experienced Texas contested divorce attorney from Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., can assist you with any ADR method you choose. Reach out to us immediately so we can start working on your case.

How Much Does It Cost for a Contested Divorce in Texas?

The cost of a divorce will vary in Texas. Depending on the circumstances, a contested divorce could drag on for months or even years. You’ll need to pay filing fees, attorney’s fees, court costs, and other expenses during this time. That’s why hiring an experienced divorce attorney who can aggressively fight for your rights and interests is vital. The sooner the contentious issues can be resolved, the sooner the divorce can be finalized.

How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take in Austin, Texas?

There is a waiting period you must go through after filing the divorce petition. The court can’t grant a divorce until the petition pends for at least 60 days. Special circumstances, such as domestic and family violence, could speed up the process.

The duration of legal proceedings will depend on whether the judge requires the couple to try ADR before litigating the case, the number of disputed issues involved, and other factors. It could take six months to a year to finalize a divorce in Texas.

Can I File for a Contested Divorce in Austin, Texas?

Yes, but a divorcing couple must meet these two requirements before filing for divorce:

  • Either party lived in the state for at least six months before filing the petition; and
  • Resided in the county where the filing occurs for at least 90 days prior

Get Help from Our Austin Contested Divorce Attorneys

The decision to end a marriage is never easy, regardless of the circumstances. The issues that led to the decision to end things are often the same ones that can make the process of divorce challenging. If you and your spouse cannot agree to specific terms, it might be necessary to litigate the matters to reach a resolution.

If you are in this situation, contact an Austin contested divorce lawyer at Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C. We have nearly six decades of experience representing people like you, and we’ll be ready to put our skills and resources to work on your case. You have rights and interests, so we will provide you with compassionate counsel and aggressive representation to protect them.

For a confidential consultation, call or reach out to us online now.