The Stages of Divorce in Tennessee

28 Jun

In Tennessee, a divorce begins when one party files a Complaint for Divorce.  These can either be done in Circuit Court or Chancery Court.  Usually, the other party files an Answer.  If the Complaint has allegations of fault, the other party usually pays $100 to file a counterclaim with the Answer.  In most cases, in the next stage, the parties will exchange discovery.  Discovery consists of Requests for Production of Documents, Interrogatories and Requests for Admission.  Requests for Production make the party submit documents that are not privileged.  Interrogatories are questions to answer.  

After this stage, generally, one of 2 things occur.  The parties may take depositions, or they may go to mediation.  In our view mediation is very helpful.  In esssence, it puts the power in the hands of the parties.  If successful, the mediator will draft a report.  Then, the respective attorneys draft an Order reflecting the report.  The parties can then take a Final Decree of Divorce to the Court for approval.  Thiry days after this document is final.  If a party wants to change their maiden name, it is usually best to do it during the divorce, because it costs more money to do it separately.

For divorces with minor children, there is a 90 day waiting period after the filing of the complaint.  The parties have to complete a Permanent Parenting Plan.  They also have to attend a live parenting class.  For divorces without minor children, the waiting period is 60 days.  Property issues are handled with a Marital Dissolution Agreement, which is essentially a contract betweeen them as to the disposition of property.

This is just a basic overview.  If you have questions call Kent Jones at (423) 424-6208 or email him at

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