Steps for Tennessee Divorce

By Bernadette A. Safrath

Tennessee law is designed to make the divorce process as quick and inexpensive as possible. The time and cost of a divorce largely depend on the spouses' ability to cooperate with each other during that difficult time. During the divorce proceeding, the court will divide marital assets and award alimony, if necessary.

Requirements

If you plan to file for divorce in Tennessee, you must first make sure you meet the state's requirements for residency and grounds for divorce. To be eligible for a divorce, at least one spouse must have resided in Tennessee for no less than six months prior to filing. Tennessee recognizes fault and no-fault divorce grounds. No-fault grounds are generally "irreconcilable differences," meaning spouses agree there is conflict in the marriage they are unable to repair. Fault grounds include abandonment for a period of one year, separation for a period of two years, adultery, one spouse's conviction for a felony, habitual drug or alcohol abuse, and other inappropriate conduct within the marriage.

The Process

The divorce proceeding begins when you file a Summons and Complaint in your county of residence, in either the Circuit or Chancery Court, depending upon your county. The divorce papers must then be served on your spouse. You or your attorney can hire a process server or ask the sheriff's office to serve the complaint. If your spouse consents, you can mail the papers. In that instance, a Waiver of Service of Process must be signed and filed. If your divorce is based on fault grounds, the next step is proving the other spouse's misconduct. You will need to present evidence, such as photos of infidelity.

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

Property

Once the divorce grounds are affirmed, marital assets must be divided. If you and your spouse can agree to a settlement, you can sign a Marital Settlement Agreement. If you cannot, the court will divide property. First, you and your spouse will receive your separate property, which includes anything you owned prior to marriage, anything you received as a gift or inheritance during the marriage and any personal injury or other award you received from a lawsuit during the marriage. Next, the court will divide your marital assets equitably, which means fairly, but not necessarily equally. The court will consider the length of the marriage, value of each spouse's separate property, income, role in the marriage (primary wage earner vs. homemaker) and financial needs.

Alimony

Lastly, the court may award alimony or spousal support. In Tennessee, alimony is awarded for rehabilitative purposes. This means that if you are unable to be self-supporting with your income and assets received during property distribution, your spouse may be required to pay you alimony for a period of time until you can. The court considers several factors in determining the amount and duration of alimony payments, including the spouses' ages and health conditions, length of the marriage, each spouse's income, value of each spouse's assets, owing spouse's ability to pay while still meeting his own needs and any fault leading to the divorce.

Children

If the spouses have children, custody and support must be decided. Either spouse can seek custody of the children, regardless of gender. Tennessee courts decide custody based on the "best interests of the child." Generally, the noncustodial parent will be awarded visitation and a schedule will be set. Once custody is decided, the court will order the noncustodial parent to pay child support. The support amount is based on the parents' combined income and then apportioned for the parent owing support.

Waiting Period

There are two waiting periods associated with a divorce proceeding. If all issues are addressed and you and your spouse do not have children, a Tennessee court will finalize the divorce after a 60 day waiting period. If there are minor children, the waiting period is 90 days. After the divorce, there is an additional waiting period before you and your spouse are permitted to remarry. You can get married again after the 30-day appeal period passes.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Minnesota Spousal Maintenance Laws
 

References

Related articles

Iowa Divorce Rules & Regulations

Divorce laws are different from state to state. Iowa's procedures for divorce, also called dissolution of marriage, are set forth in the state's code. The law addresses the requirements that must be met in order to file in Iowa, as well as the procedures for dividing the marital property and awarding alimony.

Division of Marital Assets in a Nebraska No Fault Divorce

While Nebraska provides fault-based grounds for divorce, it also provides a no-fault ground, or irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Nebraska law makes no distinction between property division in a fault-based divorce and a no fault-based divorce, since property is divided equitably between the parties regardless of whether one spouse’s actions caused the divorce.

Contested Divorce in North Carolina

A contested divorce arises when spouses cannot agree on one or more terms of the divorce, such as child custody, property division or alimony. Since these issues must be addressed before a divorce judgment is entered, North Carolina courts step in to make decisions when spouses cannot agree. Contested divorces require more time and are often more expensive than uncontested divorces.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Ohio Divorce Laws & Willful Desertion

The Ohio courts of common pleas recognize fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. No-fault divorce is facilitated by ...

An Uncontested Divorce in Kansas

Although an uncontested divorce may be less stressful and time-consuming than a contested divorce, you must ensure that ...

Oklahoma Alimony Marriage & Divorce Statutes

To initiate a divorce in Oklahoma, you must first file the appropriate paperwork and specify grounds for dissolution. ...

Divorce Laws in Virginia for People Married Over Five Years

Whether spouses are married for five years or 30 years, Virginia's divorce laws are the same. The laws set forth who is ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED