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New judgeship position may make divorce easier in rural areas

Unbeknownst to many Tennessee residents, there is one judicial district in the state where time seems to stand still during legal matters. Residents living in the 21st district, which is home to Williamson, Lewis, Hickman, and Perry counties, are often overlooked in their quests to find a reasonably speedy legal solution. Divorces, in particular, can take up to a year to be heard by a judge.

Because there are fewer judges per person than in any other judicial district of the state, residents in the 21st district must wait to have their needs served. However, these unreasonable wait times may soon be ending because of a new judgeship position.

Currently, three candidates are on the list of possible judges for the new position. Information about the three candidates will be given to Gov. Bill Haslam, who will make the appointment later in 2018. The chosen candidate will serve until August 2020. Then, residents in the district will vote on the next judge to fill this position.

For people in the impacted counties trying to end their marriages, whether through a mediated divorce or a litigated divorce, in a timely manner, the new judgeship should mean faster and more comprehensive service. The judge will handle typical family law issues such as divorce, child custody, property division and child support.

According to the report, there are currently four judges serving all four of the counties in the 21st district, yet three of these counties (Perry, Hickman and Lewis) remain overlooked or even “ignored” on a regular basis. A new judgeship will provide family law attorneys improved access to legal resources. In turn, these lawyers will be better equipped to serve the public’s judicial needs.