White and White Attorneys at Law
White & White Attorney

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How do I file for a contested divorce?

Tennessee allows you to file for an uncontested or contested divorce. A contested divorce is one in which you and your spouse do not agree on all the elements, such as child custody, property division and spousal support. 

FindLaw explains that a contested divorce takes more steps than an uncontested divorce, which is where you agree on all the terms. 

Filing the complaint

The first step to any divorce is to file your case with the court. The documents you file are the complaint. It outlines that you want to end your marriage and ask the court to legally do so. It also explains the issues you wish the court to decide. You can also name the grounds for divorce you wish to use. 

You must provide information about yourself, your spouse and your personal situation. This includes information about your children and finances. 

You must file the complaint with the clerk of court. You will need to sign it and have a notary notarize it. It is also important to make copies. The clerk will charge a fee to file the paperwork. You will receive a summons and a case number from the clerk. 

Serving your spouse

When you receive the documents from the clerk, you will have to serve your spouse, which means you have to alert him or her that you filed for divorce. You will need to give your spouse a copy of the complaint and the summons. 

You can serve the papers in person to your spouse or hire a process server to do it for you. You also can serve it by mail, but you must ensure your spouse will sign a waiver that acknowledges the receipt. 

After serving your spouse, you are done filing for your divorce.