Attorney ethics will not allow one lawyer to represent both husband and wife. The parties must decide who is going to file and that is who we represent. That does not mean you must have two attorneys (and two sets of attorney fees). It does mean that, if you are the defendant and you tell us you want to have someone else look over the papers (at your expense), we will give you the opportunity to do so.
Typically, if the husband wife wish to try to proceed agreeably we reduce their agreement to writing and the Complaint, Marital Dissolution Agreement, proposed Final Decree and other paperwork are presented to the parties for review and signature before any papers go to court.
In most cases the defendant acknowledges receipt of the Complaint and signs a Marital Dissolution Agreement (MDA) which lets the Court proceed to hear the case as quickly as possible. Because the parties agree grounds for divorce exist, the Court declares them divorced without assessing fault specifically to either. The MDA divides the parties property and debt (our staff will help come up with a plan acceptable to both parties).
If the parties have minor children, Tennessee requires a written Parenting Plan. This sets forth where the child or children will be 365 days per year and sets support in accord with MANDATORY STATE GUIDELINES. Only in special cases do the Courts allow deviation.
In Washington County “agreeable divorces” can be much faster and far less expensive than contested.
Our office staff will be glad to give further explanation during your intake interview.