Three Easy Steps to Getting a Divorce in Tennessee
Filing for Divorce
To begin a divorce action in Tennessee, you must first file a Complaint for Divorce. This is a document filed with the court and served on the other spouse, setting forth your requests (i.e. divorce, division of assets/debts, custody, child support, spousal support). When the Complaint if filed, the court issues a Summons that is served with the Complaint. The Complaint/Summons can be served by certified mail, private process server or sheriff. Discuss service options with your attorney. The other spouse will then have 30 days to file an Answer and/or Counter Complaint.
After the Complaint for Divorce is filed, the parties will need to either voluntarily exchange documentation as to financials and anything else relevant to the divorce proceeding, or exchange formal written discovery whereby the parties each answer questions under oath and provide supporting documentation. In some situations, depositions may also be necessary.
After the parties have a good handle on the financials and other relevant information, the parties attorneys will begin settlement negotiations and/or set the matter for mediation. In Tennessee, if the parties are unable to reach a settlement, they are required to attend mediation prior to obtain a trial date. If they are unable to settle at or before mediation, a judge will decide how the marital estate should be divided and any other issues relating to custody, child support and spousal support.
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