Although the divorce process may vary from couple to couple, knowing the procedure for your region could save you time and money if you are considering separating from your spouse in Chattanooga. No matter your situation, a qualified divorce attorney could be there to help you along the way.
Uncontested divorces are much less time-consuming for both parties. The couple could contact an attorney to discuss their agreement in detail and put it in writing in the form of a marital dissolution agreement (MDA). If they have children, they should also draft a parenting plan and a final decree to submit to a judge to approve and grant the divorce. However, they will need time for their agreement to be drafted, for all the parties to sign it, and a waiting period of at least 60 days to finalize their divorce.
If a couple’s divorce is contested, the process is not quite so simple. One spouse must fill out a divorce complaint to serve to the other. The complaint may include information regarding inappropriate marital conduct, adultery, or any number of issues outlined by statute. After filing and the expiration of the waiting period, the parties may then request a court date. The individuals and their attorneys will appear in court, and a few simple questions are asked on the record in the presence of a judge. If there are no issues with the paperwork, the judge will approve it and grant the divorce. Although it may not be as common in contested legal separations, the couple may choose to mediate during the waiting period to reach an agreement before the court’s approval.
When a divorce is filed in the circuit court, a judge will be assigned to the case approximately one week after filing, meaning if the case is filed on a Wednesday, a judge will likely be assigned on the second Thursday. In chancery court, a judge may be assigned to a divorce case in approximately one week, as well.
The divorce process has no time limit because each case is different. However, if there is no action taken in a case for approximately ten months, the case will be dismissed based on the Procedural Steps List. If a couple’s case has been dormant, the court may give them notice that the case is inactive and that it will be dismissed unless they either file articular documents or take action on the case. Parties must be active throughout their case to avoid the case being dismissed because of its length.
After the initial case has been filed, individuals should consult with legal counsel in Chattanooga to ensure they are prepared for the divorce process.
Consult with a divorce attorney today, even if you and your spouse are not ready to file, so an attorney may advise you on the best practices in positioning you to be successful in your case.