Divorce Timeline

 In Divorce Law

No one wants to file for divorce, but if you are at that point, we are here to help. Divorce can quickly become a complicated process, so we want to make sure you are adequately represented and prepared. We have created a basic outline of what the divorce process looks like. This timeline is typically followed in most, if not all, states. Here are the most common steps in the divorce timeline.

1. Decision

The first step in a divorce is deciding if that is your desired outcome from the situation. Once you have spoken with your spouse about your standpoint and decision, you can begin the process. There are times where one spouse will want the divorce, and the other won’t. If that occurs and you are the one initiating the divorce, consult a lawyer immediately. At Slaughter Law, we can help with these steps. Your lawyer will help you create a petition, a legal document stating why and how you want to settle everything in this process.

2. Papers

Once the request has been drafted and signed by the initiating spouse, the document will get filled with the court. You do not have to worry about filing the complaint, and your attorney will do so for you. Then someone will notify your spouse, and they will get served. This is something you do not have to do. The court or your lawyer will find someone to serve the papers for you.

3. Spousal Response

You can not move forward until your spouse is aware of the situation and received papers. They will then have time to respond to your petition on whether they agree or disagree. If the courts have not heard any response, it is assumed they agree to the complaint. It is most common that by this time, your spouse will seek an attorney to help or represent them. It will then be decided how this process will continue.

4. Mediation 

The courts will recommend mediation between the spouses, their lawyers, and an appointed mediator. This is done as an effort to resolve problems without involving the court. The goal of this step is to come to a joint decision and settlement. If that is the case, the arrangement is brought to the judge at an informal hearing. The hearing allows the judge to ask both parties any questions they need for verification. If the judge and couple agree on the settlement, the judge will file a divorce decree. This mostly ends the process. If the judge or spouses do not agree, the case will go to trial. It is essential at this point, if you do not have a lawyer yet, you need to get one. You will have a better outcome with proper legal support.

5. Trial

If an agreement has not been made, we move into the trial stage. At this point, each side will have the time to show evidence and defend their case. The court will use this trial to form a divorce decree they deem fit. This can be a frustrating step in this process, which is why you should have legal counsel. The purpose of your lawyer is to accurately represent you and try to get you the best deal. Lawyers have extensive knowledge of the divorce process and are there to help and answer any questions you have.

6. Appeal

If you feel any part of the decree is not to your liking, you can appeal the decision. It is not likely that an appeal will overturn a judge’s ruling, but it is your right to try. At this point, the process is close to being over, and most things have been decided.

Divorce is a sticky process that should not be dealt with alone. If you find yourself in the middle of this situation, either initiating or receiving a divorce petition, contact us. At Slaughter Law, we have years of experience dealing with divorces in Tennessee. Frankie Slaughter Jr. works closely with his clients to make sure all their needs are met, and they are supported. If you want proper and strong legal counsel, give us a call. You can find more information online here or reach us at (423) 844-0560 today. Make sure you are protected before you get the balling rolling in the divorce process!