As with every state, the two biggest expenses related to the cost of getting a divorce in Tennessee come either when spouses cannot negotiate a marital dissolution agreement before going to court or if there are children involved. If you are trying to figure out how much does a divorce cost in Tennessee, several expenses can be anticipated no matter what county you are in.
Though you cannot file a joint petition, couples who agree on the necessity of obtaining a divorce can prepare for the process by preparing a written agreement ahead of time stating how they will deal with:
• Debts in both names
• Dividing joint property
• Child custody arrangements
• Visitation rights
• Alimony payments
• Child support payments
Preparing the marital dissolution agreement in advance will not require a lawyer. When this document is submitted to the court, a judge may approve it provided no laws are violated by its terms.
A filing fee is required to begin the divorce process. If you are unable to afford whatever the fee is (depending on the county, it could range from $100 to $500), you may be able to obtain a waiver stating you do not possess the fiscal resources to pay. If you are sure this may be the case, your estimate of how much does a divorce cost in Tennessee could well be nothing.
At this point, a spouse will be formally served with notice of the complaint. There may be an additional fee if you do not feel comfortable giving the papers to your spouse. If your spouse does not consent to the divorce, they will file a formal response contesting the divorce. When trying to estimate how much does a divorce cost in Tennessee, you need to separate joint expenses from your partner’s.
If a marital dissolution agreement cannot be completed by the couple independently, it may be possible to avoid additional expenses by negotiating in informal court-supervised pre-trial meetings. For some couples, it may be worthwhile to split the cost of a divorce mediation lawyer, who can help create a mutually satisfactory agreement.
Another factor that will make any estimation of how much does a divorce cost in Tennessee swell is if the procedure is a contested divorce. Both sides will prepare a case to present to the court, and both sides must regularly exchange evidence. At this point, many people may decide they need the advice or representation of a private attorney. It is important to find out how much you can expect to pay at your first meeting with any lawyer. Be sure to receive any estimate you are quoted in writing.
If no marital dissolution agreement can be prepared, a judge will have final discretion in making financial awards. The final factor in determining how much does a divorce cost in Tennessee will rest in the hands of a judge if the couple cannot come to terms beforehand.