In Tennessee, the waiting periods begin when the Complaint for Absolute Divorce is filed. The Complaint can be filed on its own in a contested divorce situation, or can be filed jointly with the Marital Dissolution Agreement and Permanent Parenting Plan in an uncontested divorce matter.
If you are especially anxious to begin your waiting period but are in an uncontested situation, you can file your Complaint separately, and then continue to work on the other documents. The only factor to keep in mind there is that, when the Complaint is filed separately, you must allege other grounds for divorce than simple “irreconcilable differences” (i.e. adultery, inappropriate marital conduct, etc.). You can still proceed as an uncontested divorce, just be aware that the Complaint will list those alternate grounds for divorce.
The waiting periods are 60 days from the day of filing of the Complaint for a divorce without children, and 90 days from the day of filing of the Complaint for a divorce with children. This is a mandatory timeframe outlined by the Tennessee statutes, so there’s no avoiding it.
Once your waiting period ends, you will hear from the Courts about your final hearing date. This can be as soon as within one week of the end of your waiting period or as far out as a month or more, dependent upon the Courts’ case load. Rest assured that if you have an attorney working on your behalf they are checking in on this date regularly. Unfortunately, it is completely out of their hands as to when you are scheduled for your final hearing and how soon they hear about it. Rescheduling is an option, but it will always be for a date that is further out, not sooner.
Hopefully that clears up a little confusion about the waiting periods for a divorce here in Tennessee, watch for a future post on the same topic for Mississippi divorces!