If you would like to talk about divorce or custody cases in Tennessee, you can text me at 931-217-7648.
As I discussed before in this post, there are 3 Circuit Court judges and one Chancellor that handle family law cases in Montgomery County, Tennessee.
The Chancery Court is a court of equity. Chancellor Laurence M. McMillan Jr. presides over the Montgomery County Chancery Court. The Chancellor handles family law cases that are assigned to him based on a rotation basis.
Unique to the Chancery Court, the Chancellor is assisted by the clerk and master. The clerk and master here is Ted Crozier. The Clerk and Master assists the Chancellor by having hearing that generally do not require a great deal of testimony.
The majority of the family law cases in Montgomery County are routed through the Chancery Court. This is one reason it takes a little longer to get to a final hearing in Chancery Court. When my clients come to me initially, I tell them that a divorce or custody case in Chancery Court generally takes 8 to 18 months to complete. This is because of the overload of cases in Chancery Court.
The overload has lessened of late due to the assignment of many more domestic cases to the Circuit Court.
Divorce in Chancery Court works under the same general rules that a case in Circuit Court works. One of the things that Chancellor McMillan has instituted in his Court is having a Friday motion date. This relieves the pressure of having to wait a long time for a final hearing. The Motion date is generally a “non-testimony” day, but is a a “moving” day. This is a time when you can get quick rulings which will help speed the case along. Motions for support, exclusive possession of the home, motions to compel, are all typically heard on Fridays. If there is a need for testimony, this must be scheduled special.
Motion day does allows attorneys to bring issues that need immediate solving in a quick and expedient manner. With few exceptions, Chancellor McMillan expects these matters to be handled without the need for testimony. What that means is you generally will not get to a lot of time present your case to the Chancellor. Most of the evidence is presented by either filing evidence or by filing affidavits. The Chancellor expects the attorneys to be able to quickly and succinctly talk through the issues of the case at his emotions day.
Motions for Support are a Friday motion. This is done through affidavits and income expense sheets. In a previous blog, I talked about income and expense.In Chancellor McMillan court it’s essential that you have an accurate accounting of the amount of money needed and the ability to pay. This is primarily what your attorney will use get you money.
In order to get a final hearing, the attorney uses what’s called a motion to set. The motion to set is also heard on Friday, and is generally by agreement between the two sides. Normally, to get a hearing date you need to have your initial discovery done, early motions done, depositions done, and have completed mediation.
Chancellor McMillan will not waive mediation in his court. Mediation is required. In Montgomery County, there are numerous mediators. Once mediation is ordered, it generally takes about 3 to 4 weeks to complete.
In a final hearing, Chancellor McMillan generally only likes to hear from the opposing parties. He will hear additional evidence if required, but will not want cumulative evidence. He relies heavily on pretrial briefs and by the time the attorneys begin their opening arguments, he generally has a very good idea of where he’s going with the case. Your attorney should have a pretrial brief, and also proposed ruling ready for Chancellor McMillan. He likes the attorneys to lead the case and know where they’re going and know what they’re asking for.