The term divorce often conjures images of intense interpersonal conflict and major bills for the spouses involved. Many people also worry about the possibility of humiliation when they are compelled to air their family’s dirty laundry in public. While it’s true that Tennessee divorces sometimes require litigation, meaning that spouses will present their case to a judge and have that judge decide what would be appropriate regarding the division of their property and any custody arrangements for their children, not all divorces proceed in this way.
In a contested divorce, spouses rely on a judge’s interpretation of state law for all major issues. Yet, some spouses are able to file an uncontested divorce in which they set all of the terms. What does it take for people to pursue an uncontested divorce in Tennessee?
They need to agree on certain terms
The most important element of an uncontested divorce in Tennessee is a mutual agreement between the spouses regarding all major issues. For example, spouses may need to look at an inventory of their assets and review the Tennessee equitable distribution statute. They can then begin negotiating with one another about what would be a fair and reasonable way to split their shared assets.
Couples may also need to reach arrangements regarding child custody, child support and alimony without relying on a judge to make those decisions. They only need to attend court for a review of the documents and a judge’s final approval of the filing. Sometimes, couples have prenuptial agreements or similar marital contracts that allow them to divorce quickly with minimal conflict because they have already set certain terms. Other times, they may need to negotiate with one another, possibly through their attorneys.
Divorce mediation could also be an option for those who want an uncontested divorce. Mediation involves bringing in an outside professional to help people compromise on the major components of their divorces. Provided that people can settle all of their disputes about the end of their marriage on their own, they may be eligible to file an uncontested divorce.
For many couples, the investment required to settle disputes is more than worthwhile given how expensive it can be to litigate divorce matters. Understanding the different possible approaches to Tennessee divorce can help people choose the right way to manage their conflicts – given their unique circumstances and priorities – while preparing for divorce.