So long as both parties have reviewed and signed the Marital Dissolution Agreement and the Parenting Plan if there are minor children involved; only the filing party needs to appear.
You will be required to attend the hearing but your spouse will not be required to attend. The Judge will ask you a short series of questions to which you will respond and as long as the paperwork is in order your divorce will be granted. This holds true whether there are minor children born of the marriage or not.
Recently in a case decided by the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Lori Kay Jones Trigg v. Richard Darrell Trigg, E2014-00860-COA-R3-CV, the Court held that in an irreconcilable differences divorce was valid where the trial court entered a final judgment of divorce without either party appearing.
It is, however, the standard practice for one of the parties (but not both) appear at the Court. The trial court will generally go out of its way to make the appearance as painless as possible. Often this will be done in the Judge's office (sometimes called "Chambers") and even if it is done in open court it is as non-threatening as a court appearance can be made.
You can find the opinion at the website of the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts, but don't expect that your attorney will want to deviate from what is the practice throughout Tennessee...one of the parties appears before the Court.
This is not legal advice. It is a general response to a question that does not contain all of the facts necessary to give good legal advice. I am not licensed in any state other than Tennessee and the laws in each state vary. If you have a legal question that is serious enough for you to be reading this disclaimer, you seriously need to go to the "Find a Lawyer" section of Avvo, ignore all the paid ads (marked "Pro") and find a good attorney.
The Answer depends on which County your divorce is in and sometimes the Answer depends on who the Judge is. In some counties in Middle Tennessee neither party needs to appear in Court in order for the Judge to sign the Final Decree of Divorce. Some Judges routinely sign Final Decrees of Divorce as soon as the documents are submitted and the waiting time (60 days without children and 90 days with children) has run. In some cases a party can proceed to a Final Divorce Hearing through written questions (also referred to as Interrogatories) without personally appearing before the Judge. Each County has Local Rules of Court and some Judges have their own separate Chamber Rules. Your attorney should be able to direct you to the relevant rule for you. Good Luck. Audrey
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