How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in Tennessee?
01 October 2017IN: Family Law
Divorce timelines vary depending on individual circumstances
The divorce process may seem to be unending, but, in the state of Tennessee, most divorces will be finalized within 2 to 6 months. That being said, some divorce proceedings can span years. It all really depends on the individual circumstances. Is the divorce contested? Are there complex assets involved? These are questions that will be a big factor in how long it will take to have a divorce finalized.
Under Tennessee law, there are mandatory waiting periods for divorce and stipulations which must be accomplished before a divorce can proceed.
- No initial divorce hearing can occur until at least 60 days has passed since the complaint was filed.
- If there are minor children of the marriage, at least 90 days must pass until an initial divorce hearing can occur.
- The defendant spouse has 30 days to respond to a divorce summons and complaint,
- If there are minor children of the marriage, both parents must complete a court-approved parenting class before the divorce can be finalized.
Just with these basic requirements, delays can occur. If you cannot ascertain the whereabouts of your spouse in order to serve them with the divorce documents, this can take some time. You may be required to publish notice in a newspaper in the county where he or she last lived. Service by publication is only used after all other service methods have proven unsuccessfully. This can easily take several weeks to complete. Furthermore, a judge may require further efforts to attempt to ascertain the spouse’s whereabouts.
Where there are minor children of the marriage, there will be additional hurdles in the divorce process. In addition to the mandatory parenting class that both spouses must complete, the court will order mediation in an attempt to have the spouses work towards a mutually acceptable parenting plan. Especially in a hotly contests divorce, several mediation sessions may be necessary.
High conflict and highly complex divorces tend to be the most time consuming. If the spouses cannot agree on the essential terms of the divorce such as division of the assets, child custody, and alimony, then a trial may be necessary. This could take months. If complex assets are involved, expert witnesses may be brought in. Even after the trial is complete, either party may appeal the final judgment within 30 days of the final decree being entered. A review by the Tennessee Court of Appeals could take up to 18 months.