Tennessee Divorce FAQs: What Are the Grounds for Divorce in TN?
Understanding Tennessee's Divorce Process
To qualify for a divorce in Tennessee, you and your spouse must meet residency requirements. This means that either you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for a minimum of six months before filing.
The three types of divorce in TN are:
- Agreed divorce
- No-fault divorce
- Fault-based divorce
If you plan to file for a fault-based divorce, you will need to provide the courts with the grounds for your divorce. There are 15 different grouds for an at-fault divorce in Tennessee, including adultery, desertion, and cruel and inhuman treatment. For the full list of divorce grounds, review Tennessee Code Title 36. Domestic Relations § 36-4-101.
No matter what type of divorce you plan for, you should always secure legal representation before initiating your filing. Your lawyer can help you throughout the process and provide you with the legal support you need.
How to Begin the Divorce Process
To begin the divorce process, you or your former spouse will have to initiate proceedings with the courts. This will involve providing the courts with the following documents and information: a Request or Complaint for Divorce, your spouse's personal information, and a Health Insurance Notice. Depending on the type of divorce you are filing for, you will have additional forms to file, such as a Divorce Agreement, a Final Decree of Divorce, and a Court Order for Divorcing Spouses.
No matter which type of divorce you file for, it is imperative that you ensure all the correct documentation is filed. To determine what forms and documents you must provide the courts during your divorce, you should consult with an experienced attorney, like ours at Casey, Simmons & Bryant, PLLC.
Do I Qualify for an Uncontested Divorce?
The general principle of an uncontested divorce is a case in which both parties agree to divorce and agree to all terms of their divorce settlement. In Tennessee, there are two types of uncontested divorce: an agreed divorce and a no-fault divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. An agreed divorce is for couples with no minor children, no shared real estate or business holdings, and no retirement benefits. If you have children, share property, or have retirement benefits that must be divided, you can still have an uncontested divorce, but you must file on the grounds of irreconcilable differences.
If you and your former partner disagree on even one aspect of your divorce, you will not qualify for the uncontested divorce process. Additionally, if you do not agree to file for a no-fault divorce, you will not be able to use the uncontested divorce process.
Common sources of disagreement during a divorce include:
- Property division
- Debt division
- Spousal support
- Child custody
Review our blog to learn more about uncontested divorce.
What to Do If I Have a Contested Divorce?
If you are going through the contested divorce process, you first should seek representation from an attorney familiar with handling contested divorces in Tennessee. A contested divorce can take significantly longer to resolve than an uncontested one, and you may have a difficult road ahead. Often issues related to property division slow the process. Because Tennessee is not a community property state, all shared property (including debts) must be divided equitably. This looks different for every couple, and it is not uncommon for spouses to struggle to agree.
Are you considering a contested divorce? Read our blog, "Is a Contested Divorce Right for You?" to learn more about this process.
What About High Net Worth Divorces?
High-asset divorces are, in some ways, more challenging than the average divorce case. They are also more likely to go through the contested process. While all divorces are difficult, couples with a high net worth who divorce often have very complicated financial holdings, including family inheritances, multiple properties, business holdings, and complicated investment and retirement accounts. All of these can take a long time to sort through, and with so much money on the line, couples often disagree on how to approach property division.
Review our blog to learn more about how to handle a high-asset divorce.