Whether you are seeking a divorce or your spouse is, this can be an emotionally difficult time. Knowing your options and rights throughout the process is vital to making the right decision. There are two types of divorce in Tennessee, each of which has their own requirements. Our Nashville divorce attorneys can help you understand the difference so you can decide which is best for you.
When the spouses cannot reach an agreement on all the terms of a marital dissolution agreement or a permanent parenting plan, the divorce is known as a contested divorce. The contested divorce process begins with the complaint being filed with the court. The complaint contains information about both parties and describes the grounds claimed for the divorce. There is a waiting period of 60 days if there are no minor children involved, and 90 days if there are, from the time date the complaint is filed. This waiting period cannot be waived and is intended to provide a cooling off period to avoid impulsive decisions by the spouses.
The most common ground for divorce is Inappropriate Marital Conduct, which includes a variety of conduct that renders the continuation of the marriage intolerable. Some of the other common reasons are adultery, and alcoholism or abuse of narcotics. Here is a complete list of the reasons for divorce in the State of Tennessee T.C.A. §36-4-101.
During this waiting period, discussions can take place in order to reach a negotiated divorce settlement; and a judge can require the couple to enter into mediation prior to setting the divorce for trial. If the negotiations and/or mediation fails to reach a settlement, the divorce will have to be set for trial. If the case does proceed to trial, the judge will ultimately decide all the disputed issues. The issues can include child custody, support, division of marital assets.
The contested divorce process can be long, expensive and have the potential of going to trial. It is imperative that you have an attorney who understands trial, how to prepare for trial, and how to conduct a trial to your benefit. The Law Offices of Lords and Cate are experienced litigation attorneys who will prepare your case thoroughly to reach the best possible negotiated settlement or the best results in the event the case has to go to trial.
There are situations where couples have not done anything to each other (also known as no-fault divorce), but simply do not want to continue in their marriage. They have tried to make the marriage work, but they simply cannot. Instead of entering into a combative situation, the couple wants to go their separate ways on relatively cordial terms. Under these circumstances, the couple can enter into an agreed marital dissolution agreement. This form of divorce is filed under irreconcilable differences. This form of filing requires both parties to complete an agreement where all issues are agreed upon. The issues for an uncontested divorce are:
- Irreconcilable differences exist
- Property division
- Child custody and parenting time
- Child support
Even though this is an agreed dissolution of the marriage, there is a waiting period or 60 days if the couple does not have minor children and 90 days if they do. Once the waiting period is over, a judge must approve of the agreement, and typically they will if all the guidelines have been followed.
Whichever divorce is right for you depends on the circumstances you are in. Contact the Law Office of Lords and Cate to discuss your case and determine what your best option is.