Tennessee Divorce FAQ

Divorce law will vary depending on the state in which you live. Tennessee, for example, has its own rules and regulations regarding how divorce proceedings should go and what to do in the event divorcing couples can’t agree with each other. Our attorneys have put together a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding the divorce process in Tennessee.

How Much Is Divorce Going to Cost?

The cost of a divorce will vary depending on individual circumstances. According to a survey done by Martindale-Nolo® Research, the average cost of a divorce in the state of Tennessee is $12,600. However, this survey was sent only to Martindale-Nolo® readers and may not represent Tennessee residents as a whole. The cheapest divorce will involve you and your spouse agreeing to everything before even seeing an attorney or a divorce judge. The longer a couple argues over divorce issues, the more expensive it will be. Likewise, children will also drive up the cost of the divorce, as child custody proceedings can take quite a while. The bulk of a divorce cost will be the result of attorney’s fees; the average hourly rate for lawyers in the state is about $240.

How Long Will Divorce Take?

In the best case scenario, where you and your spouse agree on everything, a mutual-consent, no-fault divorce can take anywhere from 2 to 6 months. According to Tennessee law, there is a mandatory 60-day waiting period after a divorce complaint is filed. If you have children, that period extends to 90 days. Difficult, contested divorces can last years.

Can I File for Divorce Without a Lawyer?

You can file for divorce without an attorney in Tennessee. It’s important to file the correct paperwork with your county’s clerk of court, notify your spouse, and attend a court hearing, when necessary. If you have no children, the divorce will take a shorter amount of time. However, if you and your spouse can’t agree on important divorce matters and must go to court, having an experienced divorce attorney on your side can help you present a better argument in court.

How Do I Serve Papers on My Spouse?

You can ask a sheriff or a process server in your spouse’s home state to serve him or her the divorce. You can also send copies by certified mail to your partner’s residence or publish a legal notice in a newspaper selected by the court if you don’t know where your spouse is. The sheriff and the process server will usually charge for the service, but the fee is usually under $75. Publishing a legal notice can be more expensive. Some newspapers cost as much as $100 per ad.

Can I Get an Annulment?

Annulments are extremely rare but can be available if the marriage was illegal or based on fraud or duress. People can also seek an annulment if one of the party was underage at the time of the marriage. However, no alimony is available in an annulment, and property rights are restored as if no marriage had taken place.

What Are Grounds for Divorce in Tennessee?

There are two types of divorce possible in the state: contested and uncontested. Uncontested divorces can usually cite irreconcilable differences. However, contested divorces often require proof of grounds for divorce. The reasons for a contested divorce could be some of the following:

  • Adultery
  • Abandonment
  • Bigamy
  • Impotency and sterility
  • Lack of reconciliation for two years after the entry of a decree of separate maintenance
  • Malicious attempt upon the life of another
  • Conviction of a felony
  • Inappropriate marital conduct
  • Habitual drunkenness or abuse of narcotic drugs

If you have more questions about divorce and the legal process it involves, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our skilled Clarkesville family law attorneys at Patton | Pittman Attorneys at Law have more than 75 years of experience to offer your case. We understand this may be a difficult time for you and your family, so we will do our best to provide you the best legal advice possible in your situation.

Contact us at (931) 361-4477 or fill out our online form to schedule your free initial consultation today.

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