How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in Tennessee?
It depends entirely on the circumstances of the marriage and the divorce. A couple with no minor children filing for an uncontested divorce in Tennessee may be granted a divorce sixty days after the initial filing and service; if there are minor children, ninety days. In both instances, the divorcing couple must create a written Marital Dissolution Agreement, which expresses in writing how the couple wishes to divide their property and debts, and couples with children must create a Permanent Parenting Plan, portions of which must meet Tennessee guidelines.
Contested divorces take longer, as couples unable to settle their differences often must do so in court, before a judge. Extended litigation of this nature can take anywhere from six months to two years—or even longer.
If Both Spouses Agree on A Settlement and Wish to File for An Uncontested Divorce, May They Both Hire the Same Attorney?
No. In Tennessee, all attorneys have an ethical duty to represent the best interests and to seek the most favorable result for their clients. Because both spouses, even when in complete agreement, are adverse parties in a divorce action, a favorable result for one spouse is likely to be detrimental to the other spouse. Because of this conflict of interest, representing both spouses in a divorce action is fundamentally unethical.
How Much Does a Divorce Cost?
Again, the answer to this question depends entirely on the circumstances of the marriage and the divorce. As one might expect, contested divorces tend to generate more court costs and legal fees than uncontested divorces, and these costs also tend to reflect the complexity of the marital assets and the scope of the issues in dispute.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Tennessee?
In an uncontested divorce, spouses are entitled to cite irreconcilable differences as the ground for the divorce; no other proof or information is necessary. In a contested divorce, however, a spouse must both allege valid grounds for the divorce and prove the allegation.
Recognized grounds for divorce in Tennessee include adultery, bigamy, impotence, abandonment, and “inappropriate marital conduct”, which may include anything ranging from drug and alcohol abuse to cruel and inhuman treatment.
Can I Receive Alimony?
Alimony is a form of financial support in which the spouse in the more advantageous position is ordered to pay a particular amount of support to the spouse in the less advantageous position. Unlike child support, the amount of which is determined using a formula mandated by strict Tennessee statutory guidelines, the court has the discretion to award alimony based on a variety of considerations, including:
The earning capacity of each party, as well as the assets, debts and resources available to both
The length of the marriage, the age of each spouse, and the standard of living enjoyed by the couple during the marriage
The relative fault of each party in the divorce, as well as any applicable parenting plan.
Whether the spouse seeking alimony actually has a need for it, and that the other spouse actually has the ability to pay it.