When a couple realizes that they are headed toward divorce, both people may agree that they need a divorce, but the agreement to get a divorce alone does not necessarily mean that the divorce is uncontested or that they won’t need the advice of an attorney.
Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-4-103 provides the procedures for a divorce upon the grounds of irreconcilable differences, or the uncontested divorce in Tennessee. The law also requires a mandatory waiting period for a divorce. If the parties have no unmarried children under the age of eighteen (18) the waiting period is sixty (60) days from the date the Complaint for Divorce is filed. If the parties do have minor children, the divorce must be on file for ninety (90) days before being heard.
In order for the Court to grant a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, the parties must submit to the Court for approval a signed and notarized marital dissolution agreement and a signed and notarized permanent parenting plan if there are minor children. The marital dissolution agreement (or “MDA”) must provide for the equitable division of all of the property, assets, and debts of the marriage and the permanent parenting plan must provide for the care, custody, and support of the minor children. Without an agreement on all of these terms, there can be no irreconcilable differences divorce.
Although many people will be able to work out the details of their agreement up front, most people seeking a divorce will benefit from the counsel of an attorney, even if they do agree, to be sure that their agreement complies with the law and other requirements of the particular court. An attorney may also be needed if either of the parties have certain types of retirement assets. Don’t be alarmed if an attorney tells you that they can only represent one spouse, that does not mean that both parties must hire their own attorneys, although they certainly may wish to do so.
Many divorcing couples may also benefit from the services of a mediator to help them work out an agreement. Mediation can be helpful whether the parties are represented by attorneys or whether they are representing themselves. A trained mediator can help the parties see past their differences to work out a solution and an agreement that both parties can follow in the future.
If you need help determining whether you may file for divorce only on the grounds of irreconcilable differences and whether your divorce may be uncontested, give the attorneys at the Collins Law Firm a call today. Even if you and your spouse don’t agree on everything up front, you may still be able to work out an agreement and get divorced on the grounds of irreconcilable differences and one of our attorneys can help guide you through the process.