How to get a Divorce in Tennessee
The Role of a Divorce Lawyer
If you are thinking about a divorce there are several questions that are on your mind. We will try to answer some of those questions here. But, if you think it is time to make that ultimate decision to end your marriage- to file for divorce, then you need to consult with a family law attorney about divorce, child custody, child support and alimony. In Tennessee there are two (2) basic processes to achieve the legal dissolution of a marriage uncontested – irreconcilable differences or no fault- divorce, and contested divorce- where the husband and wife do not agree to a resolution of all of the issues.
Uncontested divorce is an agreed upon dissolution of marriage which can typically can be completed with only one divorce lawyer who will draft the divorce papers including Marital Dissolution Agreement, Permanent Parenting Plan (for child custody issues), and Final Decree of Divorce. If the parties can not agree to all issues and the divorce is contested then two divorce attorneys usually are involved – one divorce lawyer for the wife, one divorce attorney for the husband.
How long does it take to get divorced? Waiting Period For Divorce
In Tennessee the time it takes to get a divorce depends on your circumstances and whether you have minor children or not. Another factor in the time it takes to get a divorce and dissolve the bonds of matrimony is whether or not you and your spouse (soon to be ex spouse) are in agreement on the issues of property distribution, alimony, child custody, and child support, in fact all divorce issues. If you are in agreement on all issues involved in the divorce, then you can retain one divorce lawyer and file an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is agreed to on all issues and relies upon irreconcilable differences as the legal grounds. There is a mandatory divorce waiting period in Tennessee of sixty (60) days if there are no minor children and ninety (90) days if there is at least one (1) minor child. Simply put if you file for divorce today you will have to wait the applicable waiting period before the divorce can be set for a final hearing and the marriage finally dissolved. This mandatory divorce waiting period applies whether it is contested or an uncontested divorce (agreed). For a more definitive answer and details of how long it will take to get divorced contact a divorce attorney to discuss the issues.
Steps to get divorced- the Process of Divorce in Tennessee
What are the steps to get divorced? Once you have decided that its time to end the marriage, the first step you ought to take is to speak to a divorce lawyer who can explain the process and advise you of your legal rights, and obligations. If the divorce is going to be uncontested then typically your divorce attorney will draft all of the necessary divorce documents based upon the information you provide. Then you will review the documents to be sure that they meet with your approval, if so you sign them. Then your spouse will sign the divorce documents. After both of you sign all of the documents, your divorce lawyer will file them with the court and the waiting period for divorce begins. Typical Documents for an uncontested- agreed to – divorce (irreconcilable differences) include a Petition for Divorce, Certificate of Divorce, Marital Dissolution Agreement, Final Decree of Divorce. Your divorce attorney will also draft any other necessary documents to ensure that your uncontested divorce agreement is fully executed this might include a Quit claim Deed or a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).
If you have children then child custody and child support must be dealt with so your divorce attorney will also prepare a Temporary Parenting Plan and a Permanent Parenting Plan. In Tennessee child custody and child support, in fact, all issues (supervision, control, decision making and residential schedule) relating to the parenting of children in a divorce are set forth in a Parenting Plan which then becomes the custody order of the court. Both parents are required to attend a Parenting Seminar which focuses on parenting after divorce. Once the waiting period for divorce passes, your divorce attorney will contact the divorce court and set a date for the final divorce hearing. At the final hearing for an uncontested divorce the judge will sign and enter the Final Decree of Divorce as an order of the court and adopt you marital dissolution agreement and permanent parenting plan as orders of the court.
Contested Divorce May Take Longer Than an Uncontested Divorce
Your divorce may take considerably longer than the divorce waiting period (60 or 90 days). If the divorce is going to be contested (not agreed to) then your divorce lawyer will prepare a Complaint for Divorce, you will sign an oath and the divorce complaint will be filed with the divorce court and the mandatory waiting period for divorce begins to run. However, this is not the end of the story – speak to a family law lawyer about the complete process of a contested divorce, including interrogatories, depositions, divorce mediation.
Your spouse will served with a summons and a copy of the divorce complaint. Your spouse will then have thirty (30) days to answer the complaint for divorce in writing. Often times you and your spouse will be required (ordered) by the court to attend mediation in order to attempt to work out an agreed upon divorce by reconciling the differences between husband and wife as to the issues. Thus making the contested divorce an uncontested divorce. Mediation is done by a certified mediator (who is often times but not always a lawyer) who acts a You can attend mediation with or without your attorney, but it is advisable to have your divorce lawyer attend mediation with you.
There are many other procedural issues that may develop when the divorce is contested. Ultimately if a settlement agreement is not reached either through mediation or through the divorce attorneys then your case would be set for a divorce trial to be decided by the judge. Be prepared, if your divorce goes all the way to trial it may take 1-2 years to be divorced. Of course, the longer it takes and the more complicated your divorce becomes the more money you spend. Divorce attorney fees, mediation costs, court reporter fees, and court costs can add up to costing you a lot of money for divorce.
Retain an Experienced Family Law Divorce Attorney
Please contact an experienced domestic relations (divorce/custody) family law attorney for more information and for legal advice about divorce, marital dissolution, custody care and supervision of your child, and the division and distribution of marital property and debt. An experienced divorce lawyer will often times save you money in the long run. An experienced family law attorney can help you understand the process of divorce and thoroughly explain the pros and cons of strategies that may complicate the process of dissolving the marriage. For legal advice about how to get a divorce speak to a Tennessee divorce lawyer.