By Jedidiah McKeehan
When people come see me to get divorced, one of the questions that I hear the most is, “I want this done as quickly as possible, how long will it take until I’m actually divorced?”
The answer is, “Well, it depends.”
Pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated 36-4-101, the absolute quickest that you can get divorced in Tennessee is 60 days after you file the complaint at the courthouse requesting a divorce.
The law says that if you are getting divorced, and you have no children, you cannot get divorced until 60 days after the divorce paperwork is filed. If you are getting a divorce and you have children under the age of 18, then you must wait 90 days after the paperwork is filed before you are allowed to get divorced. These time periods are called, “the cooling down period.” The legislature decided that they preferred that individuals not be allowed to quickly divorce so that they can contemplate and ponder whether getting divorced is actually what they desire to do.
Having said that, those timelines depend on a number of things. When you file a complaint for divorce, you will not have a divorce trial date until at least 8 or 9 months after you file, at the earliest. And in a great number of cases, there is discovery, depositions and mediation that need to take place prior to trial, so that trial date can get pushed a number of times so that it can sometimes take years before people get divorced.
The only real way you can get divorced that quickly is if you and the other person reach an agreement before you file for divorce, or you work out an agreement during the period prior to being allowed to divorce.
If you do reach an agreement, you and your attorney can go before the judge after the cooling down period has passed and ask the judge to grant your divorce. Both people do not have to be there, only one of the parties is needed for this hearing.
Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties. He works in many areas, including criminal, personal injury, landlord-tenant, probate, and estate planning. Visit attorney-knoxville.com for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.