Chancery Court Clerk Masthead image

 

Judicial Building
Suite 302
20 Public Square North
Murfreesboro, TN 37130

Phone: (615) 898-7860
Fax: (615) 849-9553

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

The building closes to the
public at 4:15 p.m.

Divorce

The Chancery Court handles contested and uncontested divorces. It is recommended that you hire an attorney to file a divorce, especially when there are children involved. This office cannot provide legal advice. If you choose to proceed on your own here are some useful websites:

Southeast Tennessee Legal Services – http://www.selegal.org
Justice for All – http://www.justiceforalltn.com
Legal Aid Society – http://www.las.org

In addition to state law, there are local rules which must be followed when filing a divorce. They are as follows:

RULE 12.
DIVORCE, PENDENTE LITE HEARINGS, AND POST-DIVORCE MATTERS

12.01 PENDENTE LITE HEARINGS
12.02 RULE 12 STATEMENTS
12.03 IRRECONCILABLE DIVORCES
12.04 ATTENDANCE AT MEDIATION AND PARENTING CLASSES
12.05 HEARINGS IN CONTESTED DIVORCES
12.06 PROPOSED PARENTING PLANS
12.07 FINAL DECREE OF DIVORCE
12.08 TERMINATION OF CHILD SUPPORT

12.01 PENDENTE LITE HEARINGS
(A) When a divorce action is filed and Pendente Lite hearings are sought, counsel initially shall endeavor to utilize their best efforts to resolve issues pending a final hearing. When such is not possible, counsel shall file with the Court a motion requesting the Court to conduct a Pendente Lite hearing. Where it appears a hearing is necessary, the Court will appoint a Special Master for the purpose of conducting the Pendente Lite hearing, or, at the option of the Court, the Court may schedule the hearing without appointing a Special Master. When Pendente Lite hearings are scheduled, counsel shall endeavor to present his or her entire case within two hours or less, such that each side will be allowed a maximum of sixty minutes for opening, presentation of witnesses, cross-examination of adverse witnesses, and closing arguments. As stated below, counsel shall present written statements in accordance with Appendix D to these Rules.
(B) Appeals from the decision of the Master will be conducted upon the record of the testimony presented before the Special Master and upon arguments of counsel. (See Special Master Pendente Lite handbook below)

12.02 RULE 12 STATEMENTS
Statements in Compliance with this Rule shall be filed with the Court as follows:
(A) No less than two (2) judicial days prior to a scheduled Pendente Lite hearing, each party shall file a completed “Statement in Compliance with Rule 12.01" in the form set forth as Appendix D to these Rules. The statements must be signed by the litigants and properly notarized. The Statements shall be marked as the first two exhibits to the Pendente Lite hearing and shall be considered to be the testimony of the parties as to the issues contained therein.
(B) No less than eight Judicial Days prior to the Final Hearing of any contested divorce action, the Plaintiff shall file a “Statement in Compliance with Rule 12.02" in the form set forth as Appendix E to these Rules, properly signed by the Plaintiff under oath. Similarly, no less than four Judicial Days prior to the Final Hearing of any contested divorce action, the Defendant shall file a “Statement in Compliance with Rule 12.02" in the form set forth as Appendix E to these Rules, properly signed by the Defendant under oath, and setting forth assets and debts in the order set forth by the Plaintiff. These two statements shall be marked Exhibits 1 and 2 to the contested trial and shall be considered to be the testimony of the parties as to the issues contained therein.

12.03 IRRECONCILABLE DIVORCES
(A) When a divorce has been on file for sixty days, and the parties have no minor children, and have reached agreements as to all issues, and have entered into a Marital Dissolution Agreement, and seek to have a divorce granted upon Irreconcilable Differences, the parties may follow any of the following procedures. First, counsel for the parties, or counsel for either party can schedule a hearing either at 8:30 a.m. or on the motion docket of the Judge before whom the case is scheduled, and the parties and their counsel, if any, shall appear on that date for presentation of the case. Second, the parties and their counsel, if any, may appear unannounced at 8:30 a.m. on any Judicial Day before the Presiding Judge who may consider the Petition. When either of these first two procedures are followed, a divorce may be granted upon the testimony of either party, and the case may be presented by counsel for either party, or, if none, by a party pro se. Third, the parties may file affidavits in accordance with the provisions of Appendix A to these Rules, waiving their appearances at a hearing, in which case the Judge to whom the case is assigned will consider the entire file including the affidavits, the Marital Dissolution Agreement, and the proposed order, and if appropriate, will consider the matter at the time of his choosing either on an 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. docket or on a motion docket, without notice to the parties, and if proper, grant the divorce.
(see Affidavit form below)
(B) When a divorce has been on file for ninety days, and the parties have minor children, and have reached agreements as to all issues, and have entered a Marital Dissolution Agreement, and seek to have a divorce granted upon Irreconcilable Differences, Counsel for the parties can schedule a hearing at 8:30 a.m. on any Judicial Day, or on the motion docket of the Judge before whom the case is scheduled, and the parties, or either of them and his or her counsel, if any, shall appear on that date for presentation of the case. Divorces presented where there are minor children may not be heard until such matters are first considered by the Divorce Coordinator as discussed below in Rule 12.04. All documents for consideration by the Court must be filed with the Clerk at least two full Judicial Days before any scheduled hearing.

12.04 ATTENDANCE AT MEDIATION AND PARENTING CLASSES
(A) Except when a divorce is granted on the basis of Irreconcilable Differences or upon Default, no divorce shall be heard unless the parties have first attempted to resolve their contested issues before a Rule 31 mediator, who shall report to the Court the result of the mediation in accordance with the Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31. Mediation may be waived by the Court in appropriate cases, and when the Court finds mediation should be waived pursuant to §36-4-131.
(B) Before a divorce may be granted to parties who have minor children which children are a product of the marriage at issue, both parties must attend parenting classes in accordance with orders of the Court, or, where a party has not so attended, the final decree must provide that the party shall attend the parenting classes within a reasonable period of time, generally ninety days or less, except that for good cause the Trial Judge may waive the duty of a party to attend the parenting classes in very unusual circumstances. A decree of divorce will not be denied based on failure to attend parenting classes.
(C) A Divorce Coordinator, funded by the county government, shall assist in insuring compliance with these requirements and further shall examine proposed Parenting Plans to insure compliance with statutes including payment of child support in accordance with the guidelines.

12.05 HEARINGS IN CONTESTED DIVORCES
At the option of the Trial Judge, the Court may elect to hear the testimony of parties first before any additional witnesses are called, or the Court may hear the proof for the Plaintiff before considering any defense proof, as in other litigation. No contested trial will be conducted before parties have exercised their best efforts to mediate their issues as stated above in Rule 12.04. Further, the Court may reference the determinations on such issues as property values, amount of child support, and facts bearing upon the issue of custody to a Special Master for determination.

12.06 PROPOSED PARENTING PLANS
When a contested divorce involving parties who have minor children is scheduled, the Plaintiff shall file a proposed Parenting Plan at least eight (8) Judicial Days before trial. At least four (4) Judicial Days before trial, the Defendant shall file a proposed Parenting Plan highlighting disputed areas.

12.07 FINAL DECREE OF DIVORCE
The final decree of divorce shall provide the full names, social security numbers (except where parties for privacy reasons object to providing their numbers), places of employment and addresses of the parties. Where parties have minor children, the parties must provide a statistical information sheet to the Clerk, which shall comply with the provisions of Appendix F to these Rules.

12.08 TERMINATION OF CHILD SUPPORT
It shall be the duty of the divorced parent who is under an order to pay child support to petition the Court for an order terminating wage assignments or other deductions for payment of support when child support should no longer be required. Such petitions can be filed pro se and should conform with the provisions of Appendix G to these Rules. Before support may be terminated, it must be determined that the child is eighteen years of age, that the child has graduated high school, or his or her class has graduated from high school, or the child is no longer attending high school, and that the child is competent and not disabled, and that no past due child support is owed.


Divorce Forms

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