Knowledgeable Maryville Uncontested Divorce Attorneys
Practical support and counsel for Blount County couples seeking a less stressful divorce
We’ve all heard the horror stories about divorce: couples who pit their children against each other, or who fight over every single teaspoon, or who seem to go out of their way to hurt one another. It can be pretty intimidating. It can also be frustrating for couples who simply want to end their marriage as peacefully as possible, without all the fuss and muss.
If you and your spouse have decided that you’d simply be better off apart than together, and are ready to divorce in a more amicable manner, filing for an uncontested divorce may be your best option.
At Shepherd & Long, P.C., we put our more than 40 years of collective experience to work for clients looking to end their marriages with the least amount of stress possible. We offer you honest counsel and advice from the day you walk in our door. As Maryville divorce lawyers, we have helped countless couples navigate the marriage dissolution process in the most efficient and effective way – and we want to help you, too.
What is an uncontested divorce?
In Tennessee, to obtain a divorce, you must have grounds, which is the legal basis for divorce. Common grounds for divorce can include adultery, marital misconduct, narcotic abuse, or irreconcilable differences. All grounds for divorce, with the exception of irreconcilable differences, are based on the fault of one spouse, which would be a contested divorce. Filing under the grounds of irreconcilable differences means that neither you or your spouse are assigning fault for the divorce; i.e., a no-fault divorce.
With an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree about the major terms of their divorce. This isn’t to say you’ll start off in complete agreement – some discussions and compromises might get a little more heated than others. However, in the end, you and your spouse have found a way to agree on things like:
- Child support
- Child custody
- Parenting plans
- Property division
If you and your spouse do not have children, then you can also file under no-fault if you haven’t lived together for at least two years.
How long does an uncontested divorce take in Tennessee?
An uncontested divorce is typically the fastest way to get divorced. First, Tennessee requires at least one of you to have lived in the state for at least six months. So, assuming that one spouse meets this residency requirement, your uncontested divorce might only take a few months. The reason it can’t happen immediately is because of a mandatory waiting period after you file. If you don’t have minor children, that waiting period is 60 days. If you do have children, then the waiting period is 90 days.
However, not every uncontested divorce moves this quickly. All of your paperwork has to go through the courts, and that means you could be subject to delays due to crowded court dockets. Further, if you and your spouse are dividing a pension, you may need to wait another two to six months before that paperwork officially clears.
Do I really need a lawyer for an uncontested divorce?
Technically speaking, you don’t need a lawyer for anything – anyone can represent themselves in court. That being said, we cannot stress enough how poor of an idea this is. We know that you’re probably concerned about time and money, and that hiring a lawyer can seem overwhelming and expensive. The truth is, though, that divorce attorneys know how the courts work, understand how to put together rock-solid Marital Dissolution Agreements and Parenting Plans, and can anticipate (and therefore eliminate) a number of potential problems before they arise.
Think about it this way – when your car breaks down, or you break your leg, you want a skilled mechanic or surgeon to fix the problem, as opposed to trying to repair it yourself. And, by the same reasoning, when it’s time for your marriage to end, you want a skilled Maryville divorce attorney to review all your marital assets and information, advocate for your best interests, and help you plan for the future. At Shepherd & Long, we offer affordable flat fees for our services in an uncontested divorce, so you don’t have the added worry of a steep retainer, either.
What are the benefits of mediation in Tennessee uncontested divorce?
If you and your spouse agree about most of the terms of your divorce, but you’re having trouble compromising on certain elements, mediation may work for you. Mediation is a practical solution for couples who want to avoid litigation and the courts altogether, if you can, but are struggling to find a way forward.
This is where mediation can be beneficial. In Tennessee, the courts generally order mediation for couples with children, but you can still pursue mediation on your own. Working with a Rule 31 Certified Mediator can help you smooth over the wrinkles, and find a compromise that is just and fair. Attorney Shepherd has decades of success as a Blount County mediator, and is ready to help you too. While our attorneys will always look out for our clients’ best interests above all, we know how to help you find a path to an outcome that works for you and your family.
Can I change my name during the divorce process?
Yes, you can. You can change your name when your divorce decree is final and entered into the court. If you have decided you are going to change your name, we recommend you do it then, as this is the easiest way to do it. Our attorneys can help you with the process.
In an uncontested divorce, can you represent both me and my spouse?
No. This is called a conflict of interest, and happens when an attorney’s duty or responsibility to their client is compromised. If an attorney represents both spouses in a divorce action, they cannot help either spouse negotiate for more favorable settlement terms. The courts typically regard one attorney representing two spouses as unethical.
Can I get an annulment instead of a divorce?
Although Tennessee annulment is not the same as divorce, the proceedings are similar. However, the requirements around securing an annulment can be tricky. Annulment is not a quick way to get a divorce. While a divorce ends a marriage, an annulment makes it as if the marriage never existed. You may only get an annulment if you can prove the marriage wasn’t valid to begin with. Typically this means that one or both parties couldn’t legally understand the contract of marriage. Grounds for annulment include:
- Denial of marital rights
The Maryville attorneys at Shepherd & Long can talk to you about all of your options in an uncontested divorce. Our job is to ensure you get through the divorce process with as little stress as possible, as well as avoid costly litigation.
Work with skilled Maryville lawyers for your uncontested divorce
Getting divorced in Tennessee can be complicated, and we understand that a messy divorce is the last thing you want or need. At Shepherd & Long, P.C., we offer guided, thoughtful counsel to help you through the uncontested divorce process. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, call us at 865-982-8060 or fill out our contact form. We regularly represent clients in Madisonville, Oak Ridge, Lenoir City and throughout East Tennessee.