Divorce Attorney in Franklin, Tennessee
Let’s face it: relationships are tough, and this is true for those who are married and those who are going through a divorce. Whenever you’re going through a major transition in life, you need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself and that you get the help you need. Most of us aren’t adequately prepared for filing for divorce and all that it entails, which is why you should seriously consider working with a family law attorney.
If you’re considering divorce or were just served divorce papers by your spouse and need some advice and direction, give us a call at Middle Tennessee Family Law. From our offices in Franklin, Tennessee, we’re able to serve clients throughout Middle Tennessee, including Murfreesboro and Nashville.
Divorce in Tennessee
When you get divorced in Tennessee you have two basic options: contested or uncontested divorce.
Contested divorce: In a contested divorce, the two spouses can’t come to an agreement on one or more issues (be it asset distribution, child custody, or alimony payments), and they need to turn to the courts to make a determination for them. Importantly, just because one spouse contests the divorce in some way doesn’t mean they can stop it from happening. No one can force you to stay married to another person, but contested divorces almost always take longer to complete and are more expensive since both spouses typically must hire legal counsel to represent them.
Uncontested divorce: Your other option is to file for an uncontested divorce in which both spouses are able to agree upon all the major issues. They can then have these written up in a divorce settlement agreement and file it with the county court. This is the easier and quicker option, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll do everything on your own. Many couples choose to hire a mediator to help facilitate more productive conversations or consult with attorneys while also holding individual talks with their spouse.
Eligibility to File for Divorce in Tennessee
Although most states make it fairly straightforward to get a divorce, you should also be sure of your eligibility to divorce in Tennessee before getting too far into the process. In general, you must be a resident of the state in order to file for divorce here, but there are some different criteria depending on what the grounds for your divorce are.
If the grounds for divorce (i.e., the cause or reason for it) happened in the state then you can file in Tennessee. If the grounds for divorce happened outside the state and you weren't a Tennessee resident at the time, you must have lived for at least six months in the state afterward to file here.
Grounds for Divorce in Tennessee
When discussing the grounds for divorce in Tennessee, it’s common to talk about a “fault-based” divorce versus a “no-fault” divorce. Both are allowable by the state:
No-fault divorce: With a no-fault divorce, you are not required to show grounds (a cause) for your separation apart from simply stating you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences, or that you haven’t lived together for at least two years and that you have no minor children together. The majority of divorces in the state are filed as “no-fault.”
Fault-based divorce: When you file a fault-based divorce, you must give a reason the divorce happened. This could be due to factors like adultery, cruelty, neglect, or abandonment.
How Long Does a Divorce Take?
So, how long does a divorce take in Tennessee? The answer is highly dependent on your particular circumstances and how motivated each spouse is. Tennessee does impose a waiting period on all couples seeking divorce:
For married couples who do not have any children under the age of 18, the waiting period is 60 days after filing.
For married couples who do have children under the age of 18, the waiting period is 90 days.
This is in part to give couples a “cooling off” period to ensure they really do want to move forward with the divorce and it wasn’t just a decision made in the heat of the moment. Additionally, the state requires all divorcing couples with minor children to attend a mandatory parenting class before their divorce will be finalized.
Under the best circumstances, a divorce can be processed and completed within a few months, but this is generally only the case for couples who haven’t been married very long, who don’t have a lot (or any) joint assets together, or who don’t have children. For couples with more complicated lives, divorces can take several months to a year to complete. Working with a trained mediator and skilled attorney can shorten this time frame.
Divorce Attorney Serving Franklin, Tennessee
If you’re in need of advice, guidance, or legal representation in the courtroom during a divorce, turn to us at Middle Tennessee Family Law in Franklin, Tennessee.