When you’re getting a divorce there are a lot of time limits, waiting periods, and deadlines. We get a lot of questions about how those work and what they mean.
Let’s start with 30 days: when someone is served with a Complaint, the Summons says they must file an Answer within thirty days. On day 31, the attorney for the Plaintiff may file a Motion for Default Judgment. The Motion is set for a hearing, and in Williamson or Davidson Counties that motion is at least 14 days after the motion is filed. There is some room here, but if you are served with papers you need to do something about it. If you receive a Motion for Default, you need to do something QUICKLY, and if nothing else show up at court on the day of the hearing to ask the judge for more time. If you ignore everything, it doesn’t go away, and you’ll be fighting an uphill battle.
Another 30 day deadline is on discovery responses. When you are issued interrogatories, requests for production of documents, or requests for admission, the other side will be expecting those within 30 days. While sometimes that doesn’t happen, and lawyers can give each other extensions out of professional courtesy, if you’re answering Requests for Admission you have got to get those back to the other side within 30 days or everything could be deemed admitted and you’re at a disadvantage. Don’t lollygag!
Tennessee has waiting periods for divorce of 60 days if you don’t have minor children and 90 days if you do. This is not a deadline, it’s a cooling-off period. This means the divorce cannot be finalized before the waiting period has passed, and it begins on the day the Complaint for Divorce is filed with the court. It does not mean that anything happens on the 60th or 90th day, it doesn’t. It just means that even if you have a parenting plan and MDA filed with the Court, you can’t get the divorce finalized until after the waiting period has passed.