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Ask Dave Kennett Your Own Question
Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer (JD)
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience in general law, including real estate, criminal, traffic, and domestic relations
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I have filed for divorce in TN without an attorney. I have ...

Customer Question

I have filed for divorce in TN without an attorney. I have filed a motion to set the hearing and plan to file an order to set for trial today. I''m concerned about following proper procedure and would like to know the general procedure for scheduling a hearing and trial so that I know if I have done all that I need to do. Thanks
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 9 years ago.

DearCustomer- Once you have file your complaint for divorce your spouse will have time under the rules to file a responsive pleading. Once that has either been filed or the time has elapsed the court will set a schedule of upcoming dates, such as a pre trial or status conference. Many times this depends on what is filed in response to your initial complaint.

You really have no control over the scheduling of the court dates as this is done by the court. It would appear that you have done all you can up to this point to get the matter before the court. If you have filed your complaint and served your spouse with the paperwork then you will just have to wait until your spouse files a reply or answer or, if nothing is filed, then the court will act on its own.

If your spouse files a counterclaim you should file a reply to that. Otherwise the court will handle all of the scheduling of hearing dates and other pertinent matters.

David Kennett - JD - Attorney at Law

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Dave Kennett's Post: Back on May 20th I filed, the complaint for divorce, my waiver and affidavit in support of the final decree, the defendant's answer and waiver in support of the final decree, the marital separation agreement, and the final decree of divorce. I bought all these forms from an online source. The instructions provided with the forms were not very specific when it came to scheduling the hearing and trial.
Included in the forms I purchased were the following: a 'Motion to set final hearing', which I filed yesterday, a 'Motion to set date of hearing', a 'Notice of hearing' which refers to a final hearing within the document, and an 'Order setting date of hearing'. I realize a trial and a hearing are different, and that during the hearing the trial may be set. I'm just not exactly sure which documents are filed and when and no one is very willing to give this information. Like I said in the initial question, I need to file the order to set for trial. Should this be the same thing as the 'Order to set date of hearing' that I purchased or should I change the wording to 'Order to set for trial'? I really appreciate your help. Thank you.
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 9 years ago.

The problem is that an "Order" is something that needs to be signed by a judge. You cannot simply file an "Order". If you have file your motion to set a hearing then the court will have to rule on this motion and probably will set a date for either a hearing or scheduling conference. If you just filed on May 20th it hasn't been that long in terms of court scheduling so you will at least have to wait for the court to respond to your motion.

David Kennett

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
The rules of the court my case will be in states the following:
An order to set for trial must be filed with the Circuit Court Clerk no later than 7 days prior to the hearing date.

I assume that means the judge wants the paperwork for the order there so it can just be filled out. Is that not what this means? Should the order say 'Order to set for trial' or is that the same thing as saying 'Order to set hearing date'. From what the court clerk's office has told me, I file the motion to set on the day that they tell me is the next available date and then just go there on that date. It didn't sound like there would be a response from the court. I'm really just trying to make sure I know what I'm doing so as not to anger the judge. Thanks so much.
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 9 years ago.

If the clerk will give you the date for the hearing or trial then fine, you can fill it in and take it to the judge's office for signature. Usually the court will want to check with the defendant to set the date but if your spouse has made no appearance in the case then it won't matter. Your Order can just say "The Court hereby orders this matter to be set for hearing/trial on (date) at (time)". The judge should have to sign it before it is filed unless the clerk will accept it without the judge's signature.

Every local court has slightly different rules and I can only give you general information since I have no direct access to your local court system. It is sometimes difficult to represent yourself in a legal matter due to all the rules of procedure in the varying jurisdictions.

Dave Kennett