Is there a way to get a divorce in the state of Tennessee without both parties signing the papers?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is there a way to get a divorce in the state of Tennessee without both parties signing the papers?

I picked up divorce papers at the Court
Clerks office and had them signed and
notorized. This is an uncontested
divorce of a couple that have lived
separately for 10 years. I then mailed
the papers to the other party to sign,
she knew they were coming and specified
the address for them to be sent to. Now
it has been over a month and no papers.
She is no longer answering her phone or
answering texts. I am not sure how to
proceed from here.

Asked on August 25, 2016 under Family Law, Tennessee


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

In a such a situation, you as the spouse who is filing (i.e. the petitioner) can obtain what is known as a "divorce by default". First, a valid summons and complaint must be filed with the court and then your wife as the non-filing spouse (i.e. respondent) must be properly served. Once that's accomplished, you will be entitled to a divorce if she fails to file an answer within the specified timeframe (usually 30-60 days or so). After that time, she will be deemed to have "defaulted". At that point, you can appear in court and the judge will make their ruling solely on the written/oral testimony that you submit. As a general rule, the divorce will then be granted on the terms that you request. As this all state specific, you should consult directly with a local divorce lawyer. They can best advise you further.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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