8 Things to Know about Divorce in Tennessee

Divorce can be a complex and emotionally challenging process. When children are involved and/or significant assets must be divided, divorce can be even more difficult for everyone involved. Divorce is also a highly individualized process, meaning your divorce will not be exactly the same as anyone else’s divorce. Whether you are considering a divorce or are already in the midst of one, a Murfreesboro divorce attorney at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby explains eight essential things to know about the divorce process in Tennessee.

Grounds for Divorce: In Tennessee, you can file for divorce based on either fault or no-fault grounds. You may file for a no-fault divorce by alleging “irreconcilable differences” or a fault divorce by alleging any of the following grounds:

    • Cruel And Inhuman Treatment
    • Adultery
    • Bigamy
    • Inability to Have Children
    • Desertion
    • Infamous Crime
    • Felony
    • Attempted Spousal Murder
    • Refusing to Move to Tennessee
    • Pregnancy
    • Alcoholism Or Drug Addiction
    • Indignities
    • Abandonment
    • Two-Year Separation

Residency Requirements: Before filing for divorce in Tennessee, at least one spouse must meet the state’s residency requirements. Typically, this means that either the petitioner or the respondent must have lived in Tennessee for at least six months before filing. Meeting residency requirements is essential to ensure that the court has jurisdiction over the divorce case.

Property Division: Tennessee follows the principle of equitable distribution when dividing marital property during a divorce. This means that marital assets and debts are divided fairly, though not necessarily equally, between the spouses. Understanding how the court determines what constitutes marital property and how it should be divided can significantly impact the outcome of your divorce settlement.

Alimony: Alimony, also known as spousal support, may be awarded to one spouse during and after the divorce proceedings. The court considers various factors when determining whether alimony is appropriate, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s earning capacity, and their respective financial needs. Understanding the factors that influence alimony awards can help spouses negotiate a fair settlement or prepare for litigation.

Child Custody and Support: If the divorcing couple has children, the court will need to establish custody and support arrangements that are in the best interests of the children. Tennessee uses the “best interests of the child” standard to determine custody, considering factors such as each parent’s relationship with the child, the child’s preferences, and any history of domestic violence. Understanding how custody decisions are made can help parents advocate for their rights and protect their children’s well-being.

Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): Before going to trial, divorcing spouses in Tennessee are often required to attempt mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution. These processes aim to help couples reach mutually acceptable agreements on issues such as property division, alimony, and child custody without the need for litigation. Understanding the benefits of mediation and ADR can save time, money, and emotional stress during the divorce process.

Mandatory Waiting Period: In Tennessee, there is a mandatory waiting period before a divorce can be finalized. For divorces without minor children, the waiting period is typically 60 days from the date the divorce complaint is filed. However, if there are minor children involved, the waiting period is extended to 90 days. Understanding the waiting period is essential for planning the timing of your divorce and managing expectations.

Legal Representation: While it is possible to file for divorce without an attorney, seeking legal representation is highly recommended, especially for complex cases. A knowledgeable divorce attorney can provide valuable guidance and advocacy throughout the process, ensuring that your rights are protected and that you achieve the best possible outcome. Understanding the importance of legal representation can help you make informed decisions about your divorce strategy and greatly increase the likelihood of reaching an advantageous out of court settlement agreement.

Contact a Murfreesboro Divorce Attorney

 If you have additional questions about divorce in Tennessee, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro divorce attorney at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.

Stan Bennett