When Tennessee couples have decided to get a divorce, many issues will come to the forefront. A common and understated concern is how long the process will take. Few people want to go through an arduous and extended divorce before it is finalized. This is true whether the situation is acrimonious or amicable.

It is important to understand the basic factors that determine a divorce’s duration. If it is an uncontested divorce, the major aspects of the case are settled. That generally includes child custody, child support, spousal support and property division. A contested divorce presents issues that must be addressed, so it is likely to take longer. Since divorce is a legal action, papers must be drawn up. Once the petition is completed, the spouse will be served and has up to 60 days to give a response.

Some circumstances will slow the process. If, for example, there are children, and each spouse wants custody, that can extend the wait time. In an uncontested divorce where both spouses simply want to get it over with and have negotiated the larger parts of the case, the process can be completed in as little as a month. In cases that go to court, the judge may take months to sign the papers to finalize it.

Even if the sides settle, it could potentially take even longer than if the court decides. This might also take months. Some couples cannot settle on their own, but there is sufficient flexibility to negotiate and perhaps avoid a trial through mediation and arbitration. This takes time. If the discussions fail, it could take longer because the process essentially starts from scratch.

Regardless of how a couple pursues a divorce, there are unavoidable challenges that will arise to slow the case. Still, one key to a relatively speedy resolution is to work within the confines of the law, quickly file the papers and provide information as needed. Legal advice may help complete a divorce as efficiently as possible.