Telling Your Spouse You Want a Divorce
14 December 2018IN: Family Law
You have decided the marriage cannot continue and you need to tell your spouse you want a divorce. How you break this news to your spouse, and the steps you take both before and after, will depend upon several factors.
The Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce in Tennessee requires spouses to reach full agreements. This means you will have to agree to property division, child custody, and support issues. It takes two reasonable people who are ready to do the work to settle these matters. Be aware of your assets and debts and be prepared to share time with your children. Fault is not required and this is not the time to bring up grievances. Discuss matters firmly but calmly. You may have this discussion at home or in a public place depending upon your level of comfort. The terms of your agreement may then be brought to a lawyer who will draft the necessary documents. The lawyer may make alternative suggestions for you to consider. A divorce without children cannot be finalized in fewer than 60 days from the date of filing and 90 days if you have children.
You may wish to consider attending mediation with a neutral Rule 31 Listed Family Mediator. The Mediator can assist in facilitating an agreement over remaining issues. You should be open-minded and prepared to make some compromises in an effort to resolve the major issues. You may have a lawyer represent and advise you at mediation.
The Contested Divorce
Do not attempt to discuss divorce with your spouse if you are the victim of domestic violence. You may need to seek an order of protection or at least be prepared to stay elsewhere when you have divorce papers served. You may also wish to stay elsewhere if you are unsure as to how your spouse will respond.
A lawyer will gather from you the information necessary to prepare and file the divorce complaint. The lawyer will also have the complaint served upon your spouse. You should be certain you have access to your own funds and credit accounts before filing to prevent your spouse from cutting you off financially. You may also seek a temporary hearing after filing to address immediate financial and child custody needs.