What is Considered Abandonment in Tennessee Divorce Cases?

By Tom Streissguth

The laws of Tennessee allow several grounds for divorce or legal separation, including abandonment and separation -- voluntary or not -- of the parties. To file a successful divorce petition based on such grounds, your spouse must either agree to the grounds, or you must prove them to a judge in divorce court. You must state the grounds in the initial Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, otherwise the court will dismiss the case.

The laws of Tennessee allow several grounds for divorce or legal separation, including abandonment and separation -- voluntary or not -- of the parties. To file a successful divorce petition based on such grounds, your spouse must either agree to the grounds, or you must prove them to a judge in divorce court. You must state the grounds in the initial Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, otherwise the court will dismiss the case.

Definition

Abandonment means leaving the home or the spouse and moving to a new residence, either within Tennessee or out of state. As a "fault" ground, you must prove abandonment if the other party does not consent to the divorce. This means providing evidence in the form of written documents and spoken testimony that the abandonment was willful and permanent. Similar grounds are a forced removal from the home by one of the spouses -- and a refusal to allow the other spouse to return to the home.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Moving

If you move to Tennessee from another state, and your spouse refuses to move with you and does not move to Tennessee within a period of two years, this also constitutes a case of abandonment and grounds for divorce.

Residency

Tennessee law imposes residency requirements on anyone filing for divorce. You must be a resident of the state at the time the alleged grounds for divorce occurred. If those grounds, including abandonment, occurred outside Tennessee, then either spouse must be a resident of Tennessee for at least six months before the divorce petition is filed. The petition may be filed in the county of residence of either spouse.

Desertion and Separation

Tennessee law also provides for "willful desertion" for at least one year as valid grounds for divorce. In the case of willful desertion, the petitioner must prove the intent of the other party to abandon or desert the family. Another provision of the divorce laws provides for "no-fault" grounds if there are no children of the marriage and the spouses have lived separately for at least two years.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Grounds for Divorce in Tennessee

References

Related articles

Tennessee Divorce After Desertion

Tennessee recognizes a total of 13 different fault grounds for divorce, some of them quite creative. The state also allows spouses to file for divorce on two no-fault grounds. With so many options, it may not be necessary to wait out a statutory time period so you can file on grounds of desertion, unless that time has already passed when you decide to initiate divorce proceedings. Before you file, consult an attorney to choose the alternative that best suits your personal situation.

Abandonment Laws in a Florida Divorce

Florida law provides that a court may grant a divorce request if the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Whether the circumstances of a particular case rise to the level of an irretrievably broken marriage depends on the facts of the case. One circumstance under which a Florida court may make such a finding is when one spouse abandons the other. Abandonment, sometimes referred to as “desertion,” may be actual or implied under the circumstances.

Tennessee Divorce Laws on Adultery

You don’t have to prove marital misconduct to receive a divorce in Tennessee; the state offers the no-fault ground of irreconcilable differences. However, its statutes require that you and your spouse live apart for two years before you qualify for a no-fault divorce. Fault grounds don’t share the same restriction, which can make them an attractive option if your spouse has done something to end the marriage, such as committing adultery.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Legally Separate in Tennessee

Tennessee recognizes legal separation which authorizes married couples to live apart. A legal separation is essentially ...

How to Get Divorced in Tennessee

A divorce ends a valid marriage in Tennessee. Provided you can meet the state eligibility requirements, the process ...

The Code of West Virginia Regarding the Grounds for Divorce

West Virginia offers both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. If the parties agree on the divorce, or one spouse ...

Divorce Laws in Tennessee Regarding Willful Desertion

If your motivation for seeking a divorce in Tennessee is because your husband or wife deserts you, the state’s ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED