The divorce process in Hamilton County can vary greatly depending on the circumstances of a particular case. In the event of an uncontested divorce, a couple will likely need the help of an experienced attorney to formulate the marital dissolution agreement, which is the document that will divide their assets and debts. If spouses share children, a parenting plan and custody agreement will also be drafted, along with potential child support and alimony contracts.
Deciding to file for divorce is an important decision that will permanently impact your family’s life, so you should be as prepared as possible when you enter the process. A skilled attorney could guide you through each step of the divorce filing process in Hamilton County and ensure that you meet every requirement along the way.
There are several conditions that must be met before a couple can file for any kind of divorce in our area. For example, pursuant to state law, parties to a divorce must have been residents of Tennessee for at least six months prior to filing. This residency requirement could be circumvented if one of the parties has lived in Tennessee for at least six months or if the parties separated in the state but had not both lived there for at least six months.
Hamilton County law does not have any requirements for the amount of time that a couple must be separated before they can file for divorce. People can even file for divorce while they are still living together.
Local laws also require a waiting period between the scheduling of a court hearing and a final judgment. For divorces without children, the case must remain on file for 60 days before the court will schedule a final hearing. If there are children involved, there is a waiting period of 90 days from the time that the couple files for divorce.
A divorce officially begins when one party files with the court. If they are filing a complaint for a contested divorce, they must cite a ground of fault, such as abuse or adultery. In the case of a no-fault divorce, a spouse can file on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences,” which often operates as a catch-all term in these cases.
One of the most important first steps in filing for divorce is engaging with qualified legal counsel. An attorney could help a spouse complete the filing and explain the procedures and implications of doing so.
The filing party or their attorney must present the proper paperwork to the court and have it served upon the other party. The other party must have the documents physically handed to them, which may be done by a private process server to expedite the process.
The party who is responding to the divorce has 30 days to do so from the date that they are served. If they fail to do so, a default judgement could be issues against them, so it is important to act quickly. The spouse who initiates the divorce is responsible for serving the other party with any additional filings that their case requires.
The process of filing for divorce can differ significantly if children are involved. One of the main differences is that the couple must file a proposed parenting plan to inform the court how they wish to divide up parenting time for each party. Discussing where and how their children are going to live after a divorce can be emotionally trying for both parties and their attorneys, so custody and visitation are often difficult to resolve. A seasoned local attorney could address these issues head-on to minimize the potential conflict.
An experienced and compassionate legal advocate can be an invaluable ally when dissolving your marriage, so you should not delay contacting an attorney if you are planning to file for a divorce. The filing process can be complex, but a divorce attorney could help you adhere to the rules and enter the proceedings as smoothly as possible. If you have further questions about what you need to do to file for divorce in Hamilton County, call today to schedule a consultation.