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How Long Does it Take to Get Divorced in Tennessee?

Franklin divorce attorney explains the rules and what to expect

Once you decide you decide to divorce, you may want it to be final as soon as possible. You may want to cut ties and move on with your new life quickly. Even if your split was amicable, you may just want to move on quickly so that you don’t have live in that shadowy space that separation creates. Fortunately, Tennessee does not require living in separate residences for a period before being able to file for a divorce like some other states. For example, in neighboring North Carolina, residents must be separated and living in different residences for a full year before they can file for divorce. No such rule exists in Tennessee.

However, as a general rule, you must be a resident of Tennessee for at least six months to file for divorce here. (There are exceptions to this rule.) If you have recently moved to Tennessee, that can create some complications. You may still be able to file for divorce in your previous state of residence, or in your spouse’s state of residence if it is separate, but there may be advantages to filing in Tennessee. Waiting until you hit the six-month residency mark may be worthwhile in that case, but only your attorney can help you decide that for sure, and help you know if the six-month residency in Tennessee is a prerequisite in your case.

I’ve been a Franklin divorce attorney for many years, and I counsel my clients that even though they can file for divorce right away, they should not expect to actually be divorced right away. It takes time to file the appropriate paperwork, to negotiate the right divorce settlement, to determine issues like child custody and visitation, and to argue the case before a judge, if necessary. It could take anywhere from three to six months to wrap up a divorce if it’s a relatively simple case without a lot of conflict, and a year or two if there is a lot of conflict.

Divorce is rarely simple. The larger your estate, the more assets you have, and the more contentious your split is, the longer your divorce will take. If you have children, that will also lengthen the divorce proceedings since there are a lot of issues to work out about custody and support, and these conversations can quickly become emotionally charged, making it harder to reach resolution.

I always try to help my clients resolve their divorce through negotiation and mediation. Mediation is required by state law before the parties can have a trial. The courts in Williamson County and other counties require mediation, as well. However, when two people who were not even able to work together to resolve their marital problems are trying to work out issues like who gets the house or who gets custody of the children, resolution is rarely reached easily.

In some cases, one spouse may even try to hide assets or undermine the other parent’s ability to see their children. When this happens to my clients, I work with investigators and experts where economically feasible to uncover evidence and to build the strongest case possible in favor of my client’s interests. This can take a considerable amount of time, depending on how complex the case is and how much evidence has been suppressed. Some divorces can take years to resolve.

It is always my goal to help my clients get the divorce resolution they need as quickly as possible and with as little conflict as possible. If you are thinking of filing for divorce, contact me, Judy A. Oxford, an experienced and dedicated Franklin divorce attorney at (615) 791-8511 or fill out the secure online form on my website to schedule a consultation. I’ll help you fight to try to get the resolution you need to move on with your life and do so as quickly as possible.