Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
Hello Alex,Is this a contested case or an uncontested case, please?Thanks!Ben, J.D.
Hello again Alex,
My name is Ben. I'm a licensed attorney. Glad to try and help out.
In addition to a family law litigation practice (actual "full blown" representation of clients), I've also had much experience with "bundled" legal services to pro se (self-represented) divorce litigants. So, as long as your kit follows this sort of outline, you should be in good shape.
Alright, here you go, as follows:
Waiver of Service/Hearing
Marital Dissolution Agreement
That's the size of things, actually, as the Tennessee agreed divorce process is quite streamlined. If it looks short and simply, that's because it is, in all candor. In the event of contested litigation, especially involving Discovery and Mediation, this list could be way longer (and I do mean much longer).
One more thing, just in case you ever need it for reference, here's a great (free) resource:
Tennessee Supreme Court Approved Divorce Forms
If you have a follow-up question or need clarification, please just say the word by using "reply" to reach me.
I truly hope all works out for you.
Thank you, Ben.
So, I have filed all of those, but I want to make sure that the pleadings that I used (kind of a "fill in the blank" type of collection) will satisfy the judge. Here is what we have:
Complaint - In my packet it is called "Petition for Divorce"... will that work? This document contains info about my wife and myself, the facts about the marriage, a summary of the parenting plan and support order, and the requests pertaining to the actions petitioned - name change, etc.
Financial affidavit for both petitioner and respondent - not in your list, but gives a summary of our monthly income and expenses.
Declaration of Jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Act - Also not in your list, but states the presiding court has jurisdiction to determine custody, etc.
Parenting Plan - we've included all details of visitation and custody in this document, including a statement of rights for each parent and the statement that we will share custody. I've also included the Child Support worksheet with this filing.
Marital Settlement Agreement - we've included details about how all assets will be divided in this document, including houses, car, and cash settlement of my 401k plan.
Final Decree - not yet filed, waiting for our hearing, but it contains a summary of the entire affair.
Also, I filed on 1/31/13... what is the soonest I can request my hearing date, and how far out from the request date should I expect the hearing to be?
Declaration of Jurisdiction under the Uniform Child Custody Act - Also not in your list, but states the presiding court has jurisdiction to determine custody, etc."
Yes, both of these make sense and represent more modern innovations. In some jurisdictions they are quite mandatory in every case, whereas in others there's more leniency. In Tennessee, the emphasis is on the information over necessarily the forms. The law actually spells out the required contents of a Petition here: Tennessee Code §36-4-106. By using these two documents you'll cover both bases in terms of financial data and custody. I would go ahead and use what the packet provides.
(3) "Parenting Plan - we've included all details of visitation and custody in this document, including a statement of rights for each parent and the statement that we will share custody. I've also included the Child Support worksheet with this filing."
Yep, sounds great. Right on track.
(4) "Marital Settlement Agreement - we've included details about how all assets will be divided in this document, including houses, car, and cash settlement of my 401k plan."
Yes, again, that sounds just right, nothing of concern.
(5) "Final Decree - not yet filed, waiting for our hearing, but it contains a summary of the entire affair. Also, I filed on 1/31/13... what is the soonest I can request my hearing date, and how far out from the request date should I expect the hearing to be?"
Yes, that's the correct procedure. It's quite simple. The Judge will ask you a handful of simple standard questions, no "traps". Just things like confirming the date of the marriage, the number of kids, that you do want the divorce, how long you've lived there, etc. Thereafter, the Judge signs your Final Decree, and you're done. Generally it's quite literally a five minute or so procedure. Judges are quite used to pro se divorce parties and will typically put you at ease and just walk you right through the process. With minor, unmarried children the minimum waiting period between filing the Petition and the Final Hearing is 90 days. You can go ahead and request your date right now for as close to the 90 day mark as the Docket will allow in terms of scheduling.
Hope that helps some more and that all goes smoothly!
Good evening, Ben.
So, here is one more little twist to throw into the works of this whole situation. We've already stated in the divorce documents that my soon to be ex is not pregnant. If we were to find out that she was indeed pregnant (not by me, BTW), what is my obligation before court and according to the law when it comes to the final hearing and the divorce decree? Let me know what you can, please... thanks for your help, and I hope you are enjoying your evening!
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).