Tennessee Divorce Procedures

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Tennessee, located in the Southeastern United States, has its own statues pertaining to domestic issues like dissolution of marriage. The southeastern states in USA such as Nevada, Arizona,Colorado, New Mexico, Alaska Oregon, Tennessee etc., has higher divorce rate. In the year 2009-2010, the rate of divorce in Tennessee was 4.0. A number of causes like temperamental differences, financial matters, extra-marital relations, responsibility of children and related issues lead to the increased rate. Whatever may be the case, one has to abide by the divorce laws of the particular state from where he/ she is filing for the case. Similarly Tennessee divorce procedures are laid down to resolve issues faced by couples in Tennessee.

Any case continues for a certain period of time depending on the nature of the case. As per the order of the court, couples have to undergo certain proceedings so that their issues are resolved and they get justice. When you decide to opt for a divorce, it is extremely important to have a rough idea of the various processes of your state. Some of the most important relevant procedures are described below:

Major Steps in Tennessee Divorce Procedure

The process start when anyone of the spouses procures the right paperwork and files for a Petition. The major steps of a Tennessee divorce are described below:

  • When a Complaint (Petition) is filed, the procedure is initiated
  • The Complaint consists of the following
    • Identification of the partners
    • Grounds for divorce
    • Request to the court to grant a divorce
  • As per the law in this state, the Complaint must consist of the following statistical data
    • Full names of the partners
    • Number of previous marriages
    • Location of employment of the partners
    • Data regarding children, if any
    • Social Security Numbers
  • Along with the Complaint, a Summons must be filed. A copy of the Complaint and the Summons are served to the Defendant.
  • The intent of serving the Summons is that the Defendant should know that he or she has 30 days from the date of service for filing an Answer to the Complaint.
  • The Summons is also used to convey the name of the attorney of the Plaintiff to the Defendant. The aim of doing so is that the Defendant may serve a copy of the Answer to the Plaintiff's lawyer.
  • In the Answer, the Defendant can deny or admit the allegations that are mentioned in the divorce complaint
  • The next phase in the divorce procedure is that of Discovery or Settlement negotiations
  • The phase of Settlement negotiations begins when the parties finalize to attempt to settle the divorce without going for the trial stage
  • In the Settlement negotiations phase, the lawyers of the divorcing partners can meet and talk regarding the options for settlement. Alternatively, any divorcing partner can decide that it is beneficial to undergo mediation.
  • As the settlement negotiation option requires less amount of money than the trial option, the former is advisable to all divorcing couples
  • However, if the divorcing partners do not wish or fail to execute settlement negotiations, the Discovery phase begins
  • Discovery phase comprises of determining all sorts of information regarding the divorcing partners
  • If no settlement is developed even after the completion of discovery, then the only way ahead is of Trial
  • During the Trial, both the divorcing partners furnish proofs to assist the Judge to make decisions
  • The Judge makes the final decision regarding the following topics
    • Whether the conditions are conducive towards grant of a divorce
    • If the divorcing couple has children, then the nature of visitation, child support and child custody
    • Whether alimony would be given and if yes, then of what kind and how much
    • The distribution of debt and property

A brief information about Senate Bill SB0428 and House Bill HB0438

Senator Stanley and Representative Dubois filed Senate Bill SB0428 and House Bill HB0438. As per these Bills, if the divorcing partners (who have children under the age of 15) are trying for a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, they have to wait for one year to get a the final decision. However, if there are children from 15 to 18 years of age, the waiting period would be 180 days.

Taking a divorce requires lot of patience, courage and confidence. It is a tough phase of life. So don't make it tougher by not following the Tennessee divorce procedures. Remember these procedures might seem to be boring and tiresome when you are actually going through these; but once you obtain a divorce through these procedures, your life will be simpler.

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