Deciding to get a divorce may take months, even years; however, once you have decided to move forward with a divorce you likely want the process to go as smoothly – and quickly – as possible. Because every divorce involves a unique set of circumstances there is no way to know exactly how long yours will take. As a Murfreesboro divorce lawyer at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby explains, however, there are some things you may be able to do to speed up your divorce.
Tennessee Divorce Basics
To get through the divorce process as quickly as possible, you need to understand the process first. One spouse must initiate the divorce process by filing a petition with the appropriate court. That spouse is known as the “Petitioner.” The petition includes basic information about the parties, the marriage, and the separation. The Petitioner must also choose the grounds upon which the divorce is sought in the petition. The petition must be served on the other spouse, known as the “Respondent.” The Respondent has a limited number of days in which to file a written Answer with the court if he/she wishes to participate in the divorce. If the Respondent fails to file an Answer, the Petitioner can ask the court for a default judgment.
Ways to Get through Your Divorce as Quickly as Possible
Understandably, you likely want your divorce to be over as quickly as possible. While there is no way to guarantee a speedy divorce, there are some steps you can take to move your divorce along, such as:
- Try talking to your spouse before initiating the divorce process. One sure way to cause your divorce to start off on the wrong foot is to blindside your spouse by filing for divorce without letting him/her know ahead of time. There are situations where filing for divorce without discussing it first may be necessary; however, whenever possible it is best to try and sit down with your spouse and discuss your intentions ahead of time.
- Hire an experienced divorce lawyer. A common mistake people make when trying to get through a divorce quickly is to think that not hiring a lawyer will further that goal. In reality, the opposite is usually true. Even if you and your spouse appear to agree on the terms of your divorce, it is still a mistake to try and get through the divorce process without a lawyer. A lawyer can help speed up your divorce by helping you navigate the unfamiliar judicial system. More importantly, if the agreement you thought you had with your spouse hits a snag, having a lawyer onboard already dramatically increases the likelihood of working through that obstacle in a timely manner.
- Choose the no-fault option instead of alleging fault. Like many states, Tennessee offers both a no-fault divorce option and several fault grounds upon which a divorce may be granted. If your goal is to get through the process as quickly as possible, be sure to use the no-fault option when filing your divorce – even if you believe your spouse was to blame for the end of your marriage.
- Prioritize your goals. Neither spouse “wins” in a divorce. By the same token, neither spouse walks away with everything he/she wants in a divorce. At the beginning of the process, decide what is most important to you and what you are willing to give up. Trying to get everything you want out of a divorce is a sure-fire way to drag out your divorce.
- Be willing to compromise. Throughout your entire divorce, compromise is the key to moving the process along. If you and your spouse can agree to the terms of your divorce at the outset, your divorce lawyer can draft a Marital Settlement Agreement and submit it to the court for approval. If there are issues that are disputed, your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf; however, you must be realistic and be willing to make concessions if you want your divorce to move forward as quickly as possible.
Contact a Murfreesboro Divorce Lawyer
If you have additional questions about the divorce process, it is important that you consult with an experienced Murfreesboro divorce lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected. Contact the team at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby as soon as possible by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.