Eligibility to File for Divorce in Tennessee
According to Tennessee Code Annotated Section 36-4-104 (a), to be eligible to file for divorce in Tennessee, you must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing. However, if you or your spouse are in the military and stationed in Tennessee, but you have the permanent residency of another state, the Tennessee court can allow you to file for divorce provided that you have lived in the state for at least one year prior to filing.
What are the Grounds for Divorce in Tennessee?
In Tennessee, spouses filing for divorce are required to provide a reason for the divorce. The state does, however, allow divorce on fault or no-fault grounds.
In a no-fault divorce, the spouses do not blame either party for the breakdown of the marriage. You can simply tell the court you're filing for a divorce based on "irreconcilable differences."
In a fault divorce, the behavior of one of the spouses led to the breakdown of the marriage. The fault grounds for divorce in Tennessee include:
- One spouse is naturally impotent and incapable of procreation
- One party knowingly entered into a second marriage
- One spouse committed adultery
- One spouse willfully or maliciously left the other spouse
- One spouse has been convicted of a crime
- One spouse attempted to take the other spouse's life
- Habitual drunkenness or drug abuse
- Cruel and inhuman treatment or conduct from one spouse toward the other
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
In Tennessee, a divorce may be categorized into two types — contested or uncontested.
In a contested divorce, both spouses are unable to mutually agree upon one or more important terms and conditions of the divorce settlement. Court intervention may be required to sort out such issues. During the hearing, the presiding judge will issue a final judgment through a divorce order.
In an uncontested divorce, the spouses are able to mutually agree upon all the significant terms of the divorce settlement. These include property division, spousal support, child custody, child support, and visitation schedule. Once all these issues have been settled, you will need to file the agreed-upon terms with the court for official approval.
How Long Does a Divorce Take?
In Tennessee, an uncontested, no-fault divorce usually takes between two and six months. Divorces with no children involved will have to observe the mandatory 60-day "cooling-off" period after filing for divorce. However, if there are children involved in the marriage, the "cooling-off" period is at least 90 days.
Conversely, a contested Tennessee divorce can take several years to finalize. Also, if the couples agree to divide a pension and/or retirement accounts, an additional 60 to 180 days may be needed after the court approves the divorce to finalize the division of retirement accounts with a “QDRO” or Qualified Domestic Relations Order.
Work With a Knowledgeable Attorney
Filing for divorce in Tennessee involves a lot of complexities. Trying to negotiate a divorce settlement with your spouse, dividing marital property, determining child custody, child support, and agreeing on a co-parenting schedule can make the entire process stressful and exhausting. When filing for a divorce, it is crucial to consult with a knowledgeable Tennessee family law attorney, not only for proper legal guidance but to relieve you from some of the emotional turmoil.
At the Law Office of Joshua S. Reed, our team is devoted to providing comprehensive legal guidance and advocacy in family law matters, including divorce, asset division, alimony, child custody, and support. As your legal counsel, we will review your unique situation and help you explore your possible legal options. We will work diligently with all parties involved to resolve relationship differences and pending divorce issues quickly and productively. We will fight passionately to protect your rights, your family's best interest, and your future.