If You Reconcile with Your Spouse, You Can Expunge the Divorce Filings

By Jedidiah McKeehan

When a divorce is filed in Tennessee, even if it is an agreed divorce, the divorce is not finalized and completed right away. Tennessee law requires a “cooling down” period to pass before the divorce will be granted to make sure people really do want to get divorced.

If the people have no minor children, they must wait 60 days after the divorce is filed before the divorce is finalized and if the people have minor children, then they must wait 90 days after the divorce is filed before the divorce is finalized.

Not often, but occasionally during this period, a couple will reconcile, and decide to stay married. Good for them! At that point, a dismissal of the divorce case is filed with the court to end the case.

However, what if you want to erase from the public record any proof that the divorce had ever been filed? Tennessee law allows people who have reconciled to have their divorce records expunged so that it is as if the filed divorce never even occurred.

I have to say, I have never had anyone feel the need to expunge the filed divorce that was dismissed, but that option is available.

If you are one of those few who must have their reconciled divorce records expunged, here is the relevant law that applies.

Tennessee Code Annotated section 36-4-127 states, “Parties to any divorce proceeding, who have reconciled and dismissed their cause of action, may thereafter file an agreed sworn petition signed by both parties and notarized, requesting expunction of their divorce records. Upon the filing of such petition, the judge shall issue an order directing the clerk to expunge all records pertaining to such divorce proceedings, once all court costs have been paid. The clerk shall receive a fee of fifty dollars ($50.00) for performing such clerk’s duties under this section.”

Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties.  He works in many areas, including divorce, custody, criminal, and personal injury. Visit attorney-knoxville.com for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.