How Long Will My Divorce Take?

It likely will not shock anyone to learn that one of the first questions that we are asked as divorce attorneys is something like “how long will my divorce in Rutherford County take?”

As the old lawyer jokes run, the answer is simply: it depends.

The timeline for divorce in Rutherford County varies depending on which of the two routes you choose to get you to the finish line: whether it is agreed or contested.

The Waiting Period
Regardless of whether your case is agreed upon or not, Tennessee has what is called the “cooling off period” which effectively is a mandatory waiting period before the Court will sign off on your divorce.

If there are no minor children, you are looking at sixty (60) days to wait before the judge will sign. If you do have minor children, then you are in the window of ninety (90) days. Ordinarily, after the waiting period passes, it takes the Judge a week to process and sign the documents if the parties are in agreement.

Agreed Divorce
AKA Uncontested Divorce, Irreconcilable Differences Divorce
Let’s first take on the straightforward option. An uncontested divorce is what it sounds like: it’s based on an agreement. This agreement encompasses everything that is built up during the course of a marriage and includes your stuff, your kids, your money, etc.

In this process, we are hired to draft all divorce documents necessary and to take the agreement of the parties and put it into court-approved forms and language. Between preparing, signing, and filing these documents, it usually takes a couple of weeks.

All in, and assuming that both sides sign documents within a week of drafting, you are looking at roughly three months for an agreed divorce without children and four months if you have minor children.

Contested Divorce
As straight forward as the agreed divorce timeline is, contested is the opposite.

Here, we are hired to draft a complaint for divorce and have it served by private process server on your spouse. They have thirty (30) days to respond to the complaint. If they do not, you move forward on a default basis which can usually be done right at the end of the waiting period. If your spouse does respond with their answer, then the case may take several months to resolve.

Just as in the ID divorce process, the cooling off period is still applicable. However, the difference between the two is that, unlike in the ID process where the period begins upon all the documents being filed with the Court, the period for contested divorces begins when only the complaint is filed.

Looking at the contested route from 30,000 feet above, the timeline can be as quickly as the parties can agree to terms, including the sixty (60) or ninety (90) day waiting period, or as long as it takes to resolve every outstanding issue between you and your spouse. In all, it just depends on the unique circumstances of each case.

No matter if you are facing an agreed divorce or a contested divorce, our office has experienced divorce attorneys to help you every step of the way. Feel free to give us a call to discuss.


Scott Kimberly and Chase Doscher are Criminal Defense Attorneys and Divorce Attorneys in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. If you need any assistance, you may reach us at 615-890-1099.

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