By Jedidiah McKeehan

If you are contemplating getting a divorce, you may not understand how to even start the process.

Although it may seem strange, you are actually suing your spouse for a divorce. That means that a divorce goes through the court system just like a personal injury or contract case.

That may seem strange given that a marriage is a personal relationship being decided on by a judge. It does not feel correct that a judge should rule over a divorce as they would a contract dispute, which we think of as a business relationship.

Unfortunately, that is the case. You have to file a Complaint for divorce with the court and that Complaint has to be served upon the person you are divorcing. The Complaint is the same name of the document served upon a defendant in a contract dispute or a car wreck case, or a real estate dispute lawsuit.

As you go through the legal process of getting divorced, if an agreement is not worked out by the parties, at some point there will be a trial. In divorce cases, there is no jury. A judge is the sole individual who will be deciding what the outcome of a divorce case is.

I would note, I have never had a judge NOT grant a divorce. If one person in a marriage wants to get a divorce, and the other one wants to stay married, I am sorry to tell you, but the judge will grant the divorce. The final outcome may be delayed for some period of time, but eventually if someone wants to be divorced, they will have that divorce granted to them.

The main issues that the judge usually is deciding is, who gets the stuff, where the kids will be living, whether child support will be awarded and how much will be awarded, and whether alimony will be awarded, and how much will be awarded.

As I have just explained it, that may make the process sound straightforward and easy, and a good attorney will try to make the process work that way, but because marriage is such a personal thing, divorce cases can often get bogged down in fights over the smallest things.

I once had a case that almost went to a trial because both parties could not agree who got specific Christmas ornaments.

The easiest way to do a divorce quickly and easily is to consult with an attorney that will be brutally honest with you about what to expect throughout the process, and who will advise you how to achieve your goals while still working quickly to conclude the case.

Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  Visit for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.