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Filing the Complaint for Divorce
Even couples who may appear made for each other can find themselves on the brink of separation or divorce. Divorce can be stressful and emotionally taxing and can become quite painful at times. If you are contemplating divorce, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced lawyer who can guide you through the process. You may wish to seek the advice of an attorney to determine if you may have an advantage in being the first to file. The person who files for divorce first, by filing a Complaint for Divorce in Tennessee, will be known procedurally as the plaintiff. The plaintiff may be able to take advantage of certain procedures during the initial stages of the divorce and my find themselves in a better position to negotiate.
Possibly the most important decision that you may make in the initial stages of divorce is the hiring of an attorney. There may be many attorneys to choose from, so you should use care to choose an attorney or law firm that matches your needs. You should inquire about the attorneys’ experience and have detailed discussions about the attorney’s fees and billing policies. It is necessary to understand the representation agreement that you are signing with your attorney.
Many people seeking a divorce are concerned about how long their case will take to be resolved. There are essentially two ways in Tennessee that a divorce case can be finalized, either through a mutual settlement agreement or by trial. There is a mandatory waiting period, or cooling off period, for every divorce in Tennessee. If the couple does not have children, the waiting period is sixty (60) days from the date of filing of the complaint. If there are minor children, the waiting period is ninety (90) days from the date of filing of the complaint.
If the couple is unable to agree upon a divorce settlement, a trial would be held before a judge and the judge would be asked to adjudicate all of the issues in the divorce, including which party should be awarded the divorce and upon what grounds. The court must also divide all of the parties’ property and other assets, as well as all of their debts and liabilities.
If the divorcing couple has minor children, the court must also make provisions for the care and support of the children. This will include a parenting schedule with each parent as well as child support, decision making, and the provision of medical insurance.
Even following the filing of a complaint for divorce, the parties remain legally married until the date that the judge enters a final order, commonly called a final decree of divorce. Many people feel that they are divorced upon filing for a divorce; however, that is not the law in Tennessee. You are still legally married to each other so there are many things that you should do and not due during the pendency of the divorce matter. Therefore, you should follow the advice of your attorney so make sure you choose an lawyer who you enjoy working with as you may be speaking with that person often.
Following the entry of a final decree of divorce there is a thirty day appeal period. At the end of the appeal period, the divorce will be final. The end of a marriage is a difficult time for both the husband and wife and their children and families. Efforts should be made to make the transition as smooth as possible, particularly when the parties have children. Choosing the right attorney can make this process easier.
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