How Long Does a Divorce Take in Tennessee
|Grounds for Divorce||Minimum Time||Waiting Period||Total Time|
|Irreconcilable Differences||60 days||None||60 days|
|Adultery||60 days||None||60 days|
|Habitual Drunkenness/Drug Use||60 days||None||60 days|
|Inappropriate Marital Conduct||60 days||None||60 days|
|Separation (Without Children)||60 days||None||60 days|
|Separation (With Children)||90 days||None||90 days|
|Felony Conviction||60 days||None||60 days|
|Refusal to Move to Tennessee||60 days||None||60 days|
In Tennessee, there are two types of divorces: contested and uncontested. An uncontested divorce is when both parties agree on all issues related to the divorce, such as property division, child custody, and support payments. A contested divorce is when one or more issues cannot be agreed upon by both parties, requiring court intervention.
- In an uncontested divorce in Tennessee:
- The minimum waiting period is 60 days from filing.
- If there are no minor children involved, the final hearing may take place as soon as 61 days after filing.
- In a contested divorce in Tennessee:
- The length of time varies depending on how long it takes for both parties to reach an agreement or have their case resolved by a judge.
- The average length of time for a contested case ranges from six months up to two years or more.
Understanding Divorce in Tennessee
Tennessee law requires that at least one of the spouses has been a resident of the state for at least six months before filing for divorce. The residency requirement can be waived if both parties agree to proceed with the case in Tennessee.
- The spouse filing for divorce (the plaintiff) must file a Complaint with their local county courthouse and serve it on their spouse (the defendant).
- The defendant then has 30 days to respond by filing an Answer with the court.
In addition to dividing property and determining child custody arrangements, divorcing couples in Tennessee are required to attend a parenting education seminar if there are minor children involved in the case. This seminar provides education about co-parenting strategies that help ensure children’s well-being after separation or divorce.
Grounds for Divorce
No-fault divorces can be filed under two different types of grounds:
- Irreconcilable differences: This ground requires that both parties agree that their marriage has irretrievably broken down, and there is no hope of reconciliation.
- Lack of cohabitation: If a couple has lived apart continuously without cohabitation for at least two years, they may file for divorce on this ground.
The following are some common questions related to residency requirements for filing for divorce in Tennessee:
- What if I moved to another county after my spouse and I separated?
- You may still file your case in either the county where you lived when you separated or the county where your spouse currently resides.
- What if my military spouse is stationed outside of Tennessee?
- If you have been living in Tennessee with your military spouse before they were deployed elsewhere, then you meet the residency requirements.
- If not, but your military spouse considers Tennessee their legal residence, then they meet residency requirements even if they are stationed elsewhere.
In a contested divorce:
- The length of time will depend on how long it takes for both parties to reach an agreement or have their case resolved by a judge. Factors that can affect the length of time include:
- The complexity of issues involved in the case
- The number and nature of disputes between the parties
- The availability and schedules of attorneys and judges
It’s important to note that these waiting periods are just minimums; actual wait times could be longer if there are complications or delays in your specific case.
The Process of Divorce in Tennessee
- Filing: The plaintiff files a Complaint with their local county courthouse and serves it on their spouse (the defendant).
- Response: The defendant then has 30 days to respond by filing an Answer with the court.
- Discovery: Both parties exchange information about finances, assets, and debts through a process called discovery. This helps both sides understand what needs to be divided in the divorce settlement.
- Negotiation: If possible, both parties try to reach an agreement about property division and child custody arrangements outside of court.
- Mediation: If negotiations fail, mediation may be ordered by the court to help resolve issues and reach an agreement.
- Court hearing: If no agreement is reached through negotiation or mediation, a judge will hear arguments from both sides at trial before making decisions regarding property division and other issues.
In summary, divorces can take anywhere from 60 days for uncontested cases up to two years or more for contested cases. To ensure that your rights are protected throughout this complex legal process in Tennessee, it’s important to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through each step of your case.
Filing for Divorce
If both parties agree to all terms of the divorce, they may file an uncontested divorce. In this case, additional steps include:
- Draft a marital settlement agreement: Both parties will need to work together to draft a Marital Settlement Agreement that outlines how property will be divided, child custody arrangements, child support payments, alimony/maintenance payments etc., which is then filed along with the appropriate forms.
- Affidavit of Consent: After filing a complaint and Marital Settlement Agreement if applicable, both spouses sign affidavits stating they have agreed to everything outlined in these documents.Filing Final Papers: The final papers include a Decree of Divorce signed by a judge which terminates your legal marriage status in addition to other related documents. This completes your uncontested divorce proceedings.
Serving Divorce Papers
The person who serves divorce papers must complete a proof of service form and return it to court as evidence that they have served their spouse. If after reasonable attempts at serving their spouse in person, they cannot be located or refuse service, then alternative methods may be used such as publication or posting on courthouse bulletin boards.
It is important for plaintiffs in Tennessee divorces to understand that proper service is required before a case can proceed. Failure to properly serve legal paperwork could result in delays and additional expenses associated with rescheduling hearings and re-serving documents.
The answer should contain a response to each paragraph in the Complaint. If there are disagreements regarding any part of what is written in the Complaint, those issues should be clearly stated and explained in detail within the Answer. Failing to respond within this time frame could result in default judgment being entered against them.
In addition to these traditional discovery methods, social media can also be used as evidence in Tennessee divorce cases. However, it’s essential to ensure that all evidence presented meets the requirements of relevance and admissibility set forth by state law.
The discovery process can take several months or longer depending on how much information needs to be gathered and whether either party files any objections. It’s crucial for both parties’ attorneys to work closely together throughout this phase of the case.
If both parties are able to come to an agreement during mediation, then they will sign a document called a Marital Dissolution Agreement (MDA). The MDA outlines the terms of the settlement and becomes part of the final divorce decree.
If mediation fails or one party refuses to participate in mediation, then the case will proceed through the court system with a judge making decisions on unresolved issues.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
- A contested divorce requires litigation before a judge who will hear testimony from both parties and make decisions about unresolved matters based on evidence presented in court.
Uncontested divorces in Tennessee are typically less stressful, time-consuming, and expensive than contested ones. Here is an overview of the process:
- The plaintiff files a Complaint for Divorce with the court.
- The defendant has 30 days to respond by filing an Answer.
- If both parties agree on all issues related to the divorce (property division, child custody, support payments), they can file a Marital Dissolution Agreement with the court.
- This agreement must be signed by both parties and notarized.
- If there are minor children involved in the case, both parents must attend a parenting education seminar before submitting their Marital Dissolution Agreement to the judge for approval.
- Assuming that everything is in order and agreed upon between both parties; there will be no need for a trial or hearing. The judge will review and approve all paperwork submitted to finalize your uncontested divorce within approximately 60 days from filing.
The length of time for a contested divorce varies depending on how long it takes for both parties to reach an agreement or have their case resolved by a judge. Here are the steps involved in a contested divorce:
- Filing the Complaint: The plaintiff files a Complaint with their local county courthouse and serves it on their spouse.
- Serving the Defendant: The defendant has 30 days to respond by filing an Answer with the court. If they do not respond within this time frame, they may be considered in default.
- Preliminary Injunctions and Temporary Orders: The court may issue preliminary injunctions or temporary orders regarding child custody, spousal support, child support, or property use during proceedings until final judgment is made.
- Motions Practice: If either party feels that certain information needs clarification before proceeding, they may file motions requesting additional information from each other through discovery processes such as depositions or interrogatories..
Factors That Affect the Length of Divorce Proceedings
If you’re going through a contested divorce, it’s essential to work with an experienced family law attorney who can help guide you through the process and protect your interests. Your attorney can also advise you on alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or collaborative law that may be faster and less costly than traditional courtroom litigation.
In addition, if one party is unresponsive or refuses to cooperate throughout the proceedings, this could significantly impact how long it takes for the case to be resolved. In these situations, your attorney may need to file motions with the court to compel compliance or request emergency relief orders. These types of legal actions can prolong a case’s length but may be necessary steps towards reaching a final resolution.
Complexity of the Case
- High net worth couples: Couples with significant assets, such as multiple properties, businesses, or investments, may require additional time and effort to divide property equitably.
- Child custody disputes: When both parties cannot agree on child custody arrangements, the court may need to schedule hearings and interviews with family members or other professionals.
- Allegations of domestic abuse: If one party alleges domestic violence by the other party, this could lead to criminal charges being filed and a restraining order being issued. These issues must be resolved before proceeding with the divorce process.
If your case is particularly complicated due to any of these factors or others not listed here, it’s important to work closely with an experienced attorney who can help guide you through the process. Your lawyer can advise you on what steps are necessary for your specific situation and help ensure that your rights are protected throughout the proceedings.
Cooperation Between Parties
If both parties cannot agree on all aspects of their divorce, they may need assistance from a mediator or have a judge decide contested issues in court. However, cooperation between spouses can still speed up this process by reducing hostility and avoiding unnecessary legal battles.
In some cases, divorcing couples may choose to use alternative dispute resolution methods to avoid lengthy court battles. Mediation is one option that allows both parties to work together with a neutral mediator to resolve their differences outside of court. Collaborative divorce is another method where each spouse hires an attorney trained in collaborative law who works with them to reach an agreement without going through litigation. Both of these methods can be less expensive and quicker than traditional divorce litigation but still provide fair outcomes for both parties involved.
Timeframe for Finalizing a Divorce in Tennessee
- The minimum waiting period is 90 days from filing.
- A parenting plan must be filed with the court before a final hearing can take place.
- Short-term marriage (less than 10 years):
- The average length of time for a contested case ranges from six months up to two years or more.
- Long-term marriage (10 years or more):
- Prior to July 1st, 2017:
If one spouse requests alimony, then that spouse has an automatic right to a trial by jury. This can significantly delay proceedings and make them more costly. It could take up to five years or even longer before receiving your verdict if you go through trial by jury.
- After July 1st, 2017:
- Judges in Tennessee no longer have the authority to grant a jury trial for divorce cases with alimony.
The average length of time for a contested divorce ranges from six months up to two years or more. It is important to note that some cases may take longer than this depending on their complexity and other factors such as child custody disputes or property division disagreements. Couples who are considering getting divorced should consult with an experienced family law attorney who can guide them through the process and help ensure their rights are protected throughout each step.
An uncontested divorce can be finalized within 60 days from filing. However, if there are minor children involved, then a parenting plan must be approved by the court before the final hearing. This could take up to 90 days from filing.
In contrast, a contested divorce can take much longer to finalize:
- Average length of time for a contested case ranges from six months up to two years or more.
If both parties cannot reach an agreement on all issues related to their separation or if one spouse contests any issue, then it may require multiple court appearances and hearings. The length of time required for discovery (gathering evidence) and pretrial motions will also add extra time needed to complete proceedings.
Factors That Can Affect the Timeframe
In addition, here are some specific situations that could impact the timeframe of your divorce:
- Military service: Active duty military members have certain legal protections under federal law that can postpone civil proceedings like divorce. A spouse serving in active duty can ask for a stay or postponement of proceedings while they are on deployment.
- Domestic violence: In cases where domestic violence has occurred between spouses, it may be necessary for one party to obtain an order of protection before proceeding with the divorce. This extra step will add time to the overall process but ensures everyone’s safety first.
- Absence from state/country: When one spouse cannot be found or located within Tennessee and fails to respond after proper notification through various means like publication notices etc., divorcing couples must follow additional steps and hire special counsel which could prolong things considerably.
In conclusion, the length of time it takes to get a divorce in Tennessee depends on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce can be finalized as soon as 60 days after filing, while a contested divorce can take much longer. Understanding the grounds for divorce and residency requirements in Tennessee is important before filing.
- It’s recommended that you seek legal counsel if you’re considering getting a divorce in Tennessee to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.
- Remember that divorces involve more than just dividing property and determining child custody arrangements – they often come with emotional complexities and challenges. Seeking support from friends, family members, or counseling services may be helpful during this difficult time.
FAQ on ‘How Long Does a Divorce Take in Tennessee’
Q: What is an uncontested divorce in Tennessee?
A: An uncontested divorce in Tennessee is when both parties agree on all issues related to the divorce, such as property division, child custody and support, and spousal support. This type of divorce can typically be resolved more quickly than a contested divorce.
Q: What is a contested divorce in Tennessee?
A: A contested divorce in Tennessee is when the parties cannot agree on one or more issues related to the divorce. This could include disputes over property division, child custody and support, or spousal support. Contested divorces typically take longer to resolve than uncontested divorces.
Q: Are there any mandatory waiting periods for getting a divorce in Tennessee?
A: Yes. In Tennessee, there is a mandatory waiting period of at least 60 days after filing for divorce before the court will grant a final decree of divorce.
Q: Can I file for divorce without hiring an attorney in Tennessee?
A: Yes. In Tennessee, you are not required to hire an attorney to file for or obtain a divorce. However, it is recommended that you seek legal advice before proceeding with any legal action.