Will Your Divorce Be Contested or Uncontested?
No divorce is ever easy. Divorces in Tennessee are either contested or uncontested, but whether or not your divorce in this state is contested, you should be advised and represented by a .
Uncontested divorces are allowed in this state for what are called “irreconcilable differences.” In uncontested divorces, the spouses agree to the terms of the divorce and have no disputes. A contested divorce is much more complicated. In contested divorces, the spouses cannot agree on one or more matters such as the division of assets, alimony, or the custody of the children.
If you’re filing for divorce in this state, or if your spouse files for the divorce, you should ask a to help you understand your rights and legal options in a divorce proceeding and to help you make informed choices as the divorce process moves forward.
How Does a Contested Divorce Begin?
A contested divorce happens in the State of Tennessee only if the spouses cannot agree on at least one important issue. If the spouses can’t agree, for example, on the grounds for the divorce, the division of assets, alimony, or child custody or support, their divorce will be contested.
But even if you file for a no-fault divorce, it does not necessarily mean that your divorce will be uncontested. It only means that you are not accusing your spouse of being at fault for the divorce.
What is the Basis for an At-Fault Divorce?
However, if your spouse will not negotiate an acceptable divorce settlement, a contested divorce will be required, and that may increase your chances of a positive outcome. If you file for an at-fault divorce, it must be based on one or more of these grounds:
- adultery or bigamy
- a felony conviction
- cruelty or other inappropriate marital conduct
- drug or alcohol addiction
When you choose grounds for an at-fault divorce, your spouse may deny the accusation, and this will lead to a lengthier, contested divorce process. You should also understand that choosing grounds and pursuing an at-fault divorce does not always lead to a more favorable result.
How Does a Contested Divorce Work?
Divorce is always difficult and complicated, but the steps you must take to file for a divorce in Tennessee are relatively straightforward and simple. A good divorce lawyer will handle all of the legal paperwork, filings, motions, and details on your behalf.
For example, if you are the spouse seeking the divorce, a Kingston divorce lawyer will prepare and file the divorce petition for you. You and your attorney must file a “Complaint for Absolute Divorce” and a “Summons” that your spouse must respond to within thirty days of receiving it.
That response will include whether your spouse agrees or disagrees with the elements of the Complaint for Absolute Divorce. Your spouse may also at that time submit a “Counter Complaint,” which will require you – with your lawyer’s help – to prepare a “Counter Answer.”
What is Discovery?
“Discovery” is the next part of the contested divorce process. During discovery, each spouse may seek information – from the other spouse – that is relevant to the alimony, property division, and/or child custody and support issues. Discovery may include:
- depositions (oral examinations) and interrogatories (written answers to questions)
- psychological and physical evaluations
- subpoenas for the production of financial documents or other evidence
Pre-trial hearings may be required during the discovery period, and the spouses may continue to negotiate a settlement through their attorneys. If they cannot reach an agreement, both sides will need to prepare for a trial. From start to finish, a contested divorce may take at least a year.
How Does an Uncontested Divorce Work?
An uncontested divorce only happens in Tennessee when the spouses agree on all of the terms and conditions of the divorce. If the spouses agree on terminating the marriage, the division of assets, alimony, and child support and custody, they will qualify for an uncontested divorce.
If your divorce is uncontested, but you are the parents of a minor child or children, the divorce cannot be granted for at least ninety days. If the spouses do not have a minor child or children, an uncontested divorce may be granted sixty days after a Complaint for Divorce has been filed.
What Are the Costs and Residency Requirements for a Divorce in Tennessee?
There is only a single residency requirement for those who divorce in Tennessee. You or your spouse may file for and obtain a divorce in the State of Tennessee only after at least one of the spouses has resided in this state for at least six months before filing the Complaint for Divorce.
The cost of filing for divorce in Tennessee – usually about several hundred dollars – can vary depending on the jurisdiction and depending on whether the spouses have minor children. As for your lawyer’s fee, the more that divorcing spouses can agree upon, the more they can save.
In most divorces, however, some type of dispute between the spouses must be settled. Whether it’s alimony, child support, or who gets the family dog, an unresolved dispute increases the cost of a divorce. Depositions, interrogatories, subpoenas, and transcripts also add to your costs.
Many family law attorneys in Tennessee offer their clients several different payment plan arrangements. Before you file divorce papers or take any other legal steps, speak with a Kingston family law attorney about your rights, alternatives, options, and the cost of your divorce.
Meet Attorney Tyler Davis and the Davis Law Firm Legal Team
In and near the Crossville and Kingston areas, Kingston divorce attorney Tyler Davis and the Davis Law Firm team will ensure that your rights are protected throughout your divorce proceeding. They will answer your legal questions and address all of your concerns.
Tyler Davis is an award-winning family law and divorce attorney who knows how to resolve the most difficult divorce disputes. He will ensure that you receive what is rightfully yours at the conclusion of your divorce proceeding. Attorney Tyler Davis leads an experienced legal team that has established a reputation for superlative client service and legal excellence.
Before you file for a divorce in Tennessee, or if your spouse is filing for divorce – now or in the future – learn more by calling the Kingston or Crossville law offices of Davis Legal Team at 865-830-6286 to arrange for a no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation.