How Long Will My Divorce Last?

I am often asked “Scott, how long will my divorce take until it is completed?” The answer to that question depends upon how complicated your divorce is, but there are at least some minimum time periods that are easy to understand.

In Tennessee divorce, there is a waiting period for every divorce that is filed. In divorces without children, the waiting period is sixty days. In divorces with children, the waiting period is ninety days.

The waiting period means that, even if you and your spouse agree on every last detail, you cannot get divorced until at least that much time has passed.

One important note is that the waiting period does not start until the Complaint for Divorce is filed, which opens a file with your local court. If you hire a lawyer and it takes three weeks to prepare documents and file, those three weeks, which were used for preparation, will not count toward the waiting period!

If your case has been resolved at the time the waiting period expires, then your lawyer will submit the proper paperwork and your divorce will be completed when the judge signs your Final Decree of Divorce. This typically takes between a week to ten days.

If your case has not been resolved at the time the waiting period expires, then it is difficult to say how long your divorce will take. It depends on a number of things. If your case goes all the way to trial, your case may take several months, or even over a year.

Of course, the easiest way to know how long your case will take is to discuss all of the details of your case with an experienced divorce lawyer. I’m always happy to sit down with folks and share what I know about Rutherford County divorce cases.

Do I have to go to Court for an Agreed Divorce?

I am often asked “do I have to go to court in an agreed divorce, where we agree on everything?” The answer depends on a number of things, but the answer in Rutherford County divorce cases is often no.

In the past, whether or not parties had to go to court in Rutherford County to finish up an agreed divorce depended upon whether or not they had children. In agreed divorces with children, courts typically required at least one party to appear. In courts without children, however, courts would grant a divorce without the parties present, so long as the parties signed certain documents.

Rutherford County divorce courts recently announced a change to the longstanding policy regarding court appearances, which now allows all agreed divorces, even divorces where the parties have minor children, to be finalized without an appearance by the parties.

This is important because it means that, if you and your spouse agree to the terms of your divorce, you can both file your divorce and be awarded a divorce without either of you going to court.

If you and your spouse want to make the process as simple as possible, without either party having to go to court, the first, and most important, step is to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer.

Divorce: Quality Experiences with Children as a Low Income Spouse

Financial Security Without Collateral Damage to Children
Unfortunately, kids are often collateral damage in a divorce. Divorcing parents are concerned with how often they will see their children. However, they are also concerned with the financial result of divorce. Under the child support guidelines, the number of days spent with the kids directly impacts the child support award to be paid, which leads to an uncomfortable situation where both parents are fighting for more time with the kids and neither parent’s motive is clear.

When you throw in the emotional impact of divorce, and the fact that each parent may be fueled to gain an upper hand on the other in the divorce, the fight over the kids can become poisonous.

Providing Quality Experiences as a Low Income Parent
The most important step towards making sure that both parents can afford to have quality experiences with the kids after divorce is to fight for every cent of financial support. This includes both spousal support, which is sometimes called alimony, and child support.

In a situation where the Father is the high income earner, but the Mother has more time with the kids, the Father may want to be the “fun parent,” who takes his children on weekend trips and theme park vacations. The Mother may feel forced into being the “serious parent,” who handles the weekday responsibilities of housework, homework, and school events. Naturally, the lower income parent in this situation is going to feel limited in the ability to have quality experiences with the kids.

The primary check against a high income parent using a lot of money to have more quality experiences with the children than the low income parent is the court, who will award the low income parent a certain portion of the high income parent’s income to provide for the children.

The lower income parent needs to make sure that the court knows the income and earning potential of the higher income parent. If the higher income parent’s income is accurate, then the lower income parent should receive some kind of financial assistance, which will allow both parents to have quality experiences with the kids.

Back To Work After Raising Kids? 5 Questions to Consider

This is a guest post from author and columnist Lisa Thomson. Lisa is a contributor to Huffington Post and Divorced Moms. To read more about Lisa and her story, visit

This one is for the stay-at-home moms. I was one, too and I loved it while it lasted. Divorce changes everything, in a good way.

Cast your memory back, when you found out you were pregnant you were likely overwhelmed and delighted by the prospect of entering a new phase in your life; motherhood.  We want to do what’s best for our babies. Thus begins the long path of putting our children’s needs before our own.  I’m not saying this is a bad thing however as we learn years later, the decision we thought was best at one point can end up hurting us.

If you are like me and stayed home to raise your children you inadvertently have given up the prospects of furthering your career during those years. The rewards and benefits of staying home are invaluable to our children but there is a price to pay in the event of divorce.

We stay-at-home moms (“SAHMs”) are very vulnerable during divorce since we find ourselves with outdated skills and let’s be honest, at a complete career loss. What am I going to do now? we ask.  I’ve been there and I’m here to tell you it’s not as bad as it seems.  There is hope for a new beginning.

Rather than jumping in head first to the first job that will take you. Stop. Take a deep breath and ask yourself these 5 questions:

  1. How can my skills before I stayed home to raise the children, benefit me today?
  2. What are my interests, hobbies, passions?
  3. What do I have to do to update past skills?
  4. What are the cost v. benefit and time commitment to start a new education program or career?
  5. What type of work/career will be sustainable into older age?

Divorced MomsCareful analysis of these questions can lead you to some valuable answers.  The bottom line is you want to do something you are at least interested in, hopefully passionate about.

Also, if you are upgrading past skills you need to consider what it will cost and whether or not you’ll be able to continue that line of work into older age.  In other words, what are the physical demands of your previous work?

Perhaps it would be better to start over with a new career enabling longer term employment. For example, I was in the career of Phys. Ed and Recreation.  My previous work experiences were highly physically demanding and I knew there was no way I could sustain that type of work into my 50′s or 60’s. Also, after being out of the field for several years my interests and passions had changed.  So I asked myself should I invest in upgrading in a career I had little interest in?  No.  I decided to pursue a new program in Interior Design.  This made sense for flexibility of hours and sustainability of work.  I could do this type of work well into my 60′s if I wanted or had to.  Also, the program available allowed for part time study so I would still have time to care for my children.  This seemed ideal looking at the ‘big picture’.

Often during divorce your ex’s lawyer will pressure you to get a job because if you are earning an income of any kind, your ex will pay less in spousal/alimony support.  So the lawyer is trying to get your ex the best deal by encouraging you to get a job.

Yes, you will have to work, but know that the purpose of alimony and spousal support is to transition you from the marital role to independence and this includes allowing you time to upgrade and take up a new education.  So there is no need to rush out and get a minimum wage job and have no time for your children who likely still need you?

Look at this as a time of growth and new opportunities.  It isn’t the easiest transition but you will come out of it with new skills and increased self esteem. Your kids will be proud of your accomplishments too. So it’s a little scary, but taking the proper time to figure out what you want to pursue, you will be happier in the long run.

Were you a stay at home mom?  How and what did you choose for work, post divorce?

Divorced MomsLisa Thomson is the author of The Great Escape; A Girl’s Guide To Leaving a Marriage, an informative self help guide full of practical tips and personal stories. Co-Parenting, Budgeting, hiring a lawyer, parental alienation, social changes to expect are all topics Lisa tackles in this all encompassing and riveting read. When not writing, Lisa loves to dabble in lots of mischief. She currently lives happily unmarried. Visit her blog to read more and you can also connect with Lisa on Facebook and Twitter

Purchase the e-book on Amazon, iTunes, or Barnes & Noble or purchase the paperback directly from her website

Child Support is No Laughing Matter When it Comes to Divorce

Each state has their own laws when matters revolve around child support. Knowing the exact payment can weigh on a few different factors, so it is important to consult with a local child support attorney on these laws.

Some general factors include both parent’s wages and income from all sources along with the number of kids within a family.

Other areas of concern circle around the average amount of child care costs, health care costs, benefits or even costs associated with a previous divorce.

It’s important to keep in mind that child support is key to a child’s well-being. With this condition, lower costs are a concern and hiring a lawyer to leverage payments can go a long way for both parties.

For someone to lower a payment, they must show a substantial change in circumstances, which means the individual’s circumstances have changed since the initial order on child support. This may include situations that relate to health concerns of a parent or a change in employment to name a few.

With all of this in mind, how much child support each parent pays can differ significantly. Nonetheless, the relevancy of a lawyer in the matter is vital in all accounts.

To estimate what your child support payment may be, you can use the Tennessee Child Support Worksheet, which can be found here.

For other areas of family law in Murfreesboro, feel free to contact Joe Brandon & Scott Kimberly, Attorneys at Law at 615-890-2399.