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Tennesee Divorce Laws
Once your order has been received it will be forwarded to the Tennessee paralegal who will be assigned to your case for the duration of the process. Your assigned paralegal will answer any questions that you have and process your documents.
Our Tennessee Paralegals are specifically trained in Tennessee divorce procedures and will assist you in getting the fastest, easiest, and most affordable divorce available.
We include all forms needed for an Tennessee divorce.
RESIDENCY REQUIREMENTS AND WHERE TO FILE: The spouse seeking divorce must have been a resident of Tennessee when the grounds for divorce arose. If the grounds for divorce arose outside of Tennessee and the petitioner resided outside of Tennessee, either spouse must have been a resident for 6 months prior to filing. The divorce may be filed for in any of the following counties: (1) the county in which both spouses lived at the time of their separation; (2) the county in which the respondent lives if he or she is a resident of Tennessee; or (3) the county in which the petitioner lives if the respondent is a non-resident of Tennessee. [Tennessee Code Annotated; Volume 6A, Title 36, Sections 36-4-104 and 36-4-105].
LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE: No-Fault: (1) irreconcilable differences if (a) there has been no denial of this ground; or (b) the spouses submit a properly signed marital dissolution agreement [see below under Simplified or Special Divorce Procedures] or (c) this grounds for divorce is combined with a general fault-based grounds; or (2) living separate and apart without cohabitation for 2 years when there are no minor children. [Tennessee Code Annotated; Volume 6A, Title 36, Section 36-4-101 and 36-4-103] General: (1) impotence; (2) adultery; (3) conviction of a felony and imprisonment; (4) alcoholism and/or drug addiction; (5) wife is pregnant by another at the time of marriage without husband's knowledge; (6) willful desertion for 1 year; (7) bigamy; (8) endangering the life of the spouse; (9) commission and/or conviction of an infamous crime; (10) refusing to move to Tennessee with a spouse and willfully absenting oneself from a new residence for 2 years; (11) cruel and inhumane treatment; (12) spouse has made life intolerable; (13) abandonment or kicking spouse out of the home and refusing to provide spousal support; and (14) living separate from each other for 2 or more years. [Tennessee Code Annotated; Volume 6A, Title 36, Section 36-4-101].
LEGAL SEPARATION: The grounds for legal separation (divorce from bed and board) are the same as the grounds for a divorce. There is no residency requirement specified in the statute. [Tennessee Code Annotated; Volume 6A, Title 36, Sections 36-4-102, and 36-4-119].
SIMPLIFIED OR SPECIAL DIVORCE PROCEDURES: If the divorce is based on irreconcilable differences, the spouses may enter into a notarized marital settlement agreement. The agreement must: (1) make specific reference to a pending divorce by the name of the court and the docket number; or (2) state that the respondent is aware that a divorce will be filed for in the state of Tennessee; and (3) state that the respondent waives service of process and waives filing an answer. The waiver of service will be valid for 180 days after the respondent signs the agreement and will constitute a general appearance by the respondent and give the court personal jurisdiction over the respondent and will constitute a default judgement. The petition for divorce must have been on file for over 60 days before a hearing will be held if the spouses have no minor children and 90 days if they have any minor children. The spouses must make adequate and sufficient provisions in their marital settlement agreement for the care and custody of any minor children and for an adequate settlement of their property. The spouses may also make provisions in their settlement for alimony. A final decree may be entered without any corroborating proof or testimony by the petitioner or respondent. If the respondent contests or denies that there are irreconcilable differences, a divorce may not be granted on those grounds, unless there is a valid marital settlement agreement. Some counties may require the respondent to sign an appearance and waiver form before the court clerk for it to be valid. In addition, in any petition for divorce, the wife's maiden name must be stated and the race and color of each spouse must be stated. Financial affidavits may also be required. [Tennessee Code Annotated; Volume 6A, Title 36, Sections 36-4-103 and 36-4-116; and Tennessee Rules of Court].
MEDIATION OR COUNSELING REQUIREMENTS:Upon request, the court may delay a divorce proceeding to allow an attempt at reconciliation. In addition, in those cases which involve child custody considerations, the court may order either or both parents to an educational seminar concerning the effects of divorce on children. [Tennessee Code Annotated; Volume 6A, Title 36, Sections 36-4-126, 36-4-130, and 36-6-101].
PROPERTY DISTRIBUTION: Tennessee is an "equitable distribution" state. The separate property of each spouse is retained by that spouse. Separate property is property that was: (1) acquired prior to marriage; (2) by gift or inheritance; (3) in exchange for any separate property, or (4) obtained from income or appreciation of separate property, if the other spouse did not contribute to the preservation and appreciation. The marital property, including: (1) any property acquired during the marriage by either spouse; (2) any increase in value of any property to which the spouses contributed tot the upkeep and appreciation; and (3) any retirement benefits, is divided by the court, without regard to any marital fault, and after a consideration of the following factors: (1) the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, preservation, appreciation, or dissipation of the marital property, including the contribution of each spouse as homemaker, wage-earner, or parent; (2) the value of each spouse's property; (3) the economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective; (4) the length of the marriage; (5) the age and health of the spouses; (6) the vocational skills of the spouses; (7) the liabilities and needs of each spouse and the opportunity of each for further acquisition of capital assets and income; (8) the federal income tax consequences of the court's division of the property; (9) the present and potential earning capability of each spouse; (10) the tangible and intangible contributions made by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse; (11) the relative ability of each party for the future acquisition of capital and income; and (12) any other factor necessary to do equity and justice between the spouses. [Tennessee Code Annotated; Volume 6A, Title 36, Section 36-4-121].
ALIMONY/MAINTENANCE/SPOUSAL SUPPORT: Spousal support may take the form of lump sum, periodic, or rehabilitative support. Tennessee favors rehabilitative support; however, if this is not feasible, the court may grant long-term alimony, until the death or remarriage of the supported spouse. Spousal support may be awarded to either spouse, based on a consideration of the following: (1) the value of any separate property and the value of the spouses share of any marital property; (2) whether the spouse seeking alimony is the custodian of a child whose circumstances make it appropriate for that spouse not to seek outside employment; (3) the need for sufficient education and training to enable the spouse to find appropriate employment; (4) the standard of living during the marriage; (5) the duration of the marriage; (6) the comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the labor market and any retirement, pension, or profit-sharing benefits; (7) the needs and obligations of each spouse; (8) the tangible and intangible contributions of each spouse to the marriage, including services rendered in homemaking, child care, and contributions to the education, earning capacity, and career building of the other spouse; (9) the relative education and training of the spouses and the opportunity of each party to secure education and training; (10) the age of the spouses; (11) the physical and mental condition of the spouse; (12) the tax consequences to each spouse; (13) the usual occupation of the spouses during the marriage; (14) the vocational skills and employability of the spouse seeking alimony; (15) the conduct of the spouses during the marriage; and (16) any other factor the court deems just and equitable. The court may require that spousal support payments be made through the clerk of the court. Spousal support payments may include expenses of job training and education. [Tennessee Code Annotated; Volume 6A, Title 36, Section 36-5-101].
CHILD CUSTODY: Joint or sole custody is awarded according to the best interests of the child and considering the child's preference. There is a presumption that joint custody is in the best interests of the child when the parents have an agreement to that effect or agree in open court to joint custody. There is no presumption that either parent is more suited to obtain custody. However, if the child is of tender years, the sex of the parent seeking custody is a factor which may be taken into consideration. No other factors are listed in the statute. [Tennessee Code Annotated; Volume 6A, Title 36, Section 36-6-101].
CHILD SUPPORT: Either or both of the parents may be ordered to provide child support. The factors for consideration are as follows: (1) the financial resources of the child; (2) the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not been dissolved; (3) the physical and emotional conditions and educational needs of the child; (4) the financial resources, needs, and obligations of the parents; (5) the earning capacity of each parent; (6) the age and health of the child; (7) the monetary and non-monetary contributions of each parent to the well-being of the child; (8) any pension or retirement benefits of the parents; (9) whether the non-custodial parent's visitation is over 110 days per year or under 55 days per year; and (10) any other relevant factors. The court may require that health insurance coverage be provided for the child or that the spouse to who is to pay the support maintain a life insurance policy for the benefit of the child. The court can require that the child support payments be paid through the clerk of the court. The posting of bond, wage assignments, and wage withholding may also be ordered. There are official Tennessee Supreme Court child support guidelines which are presumed to be correct unless there is a showing that the amount would be unjust or inappropriate under the particular circumstances of the case. Standardized forms for determining child support are also to be available. [Tennessee Code Annotated; Volume 6A, Title 36, Sections 36-5-101, 36-5-501, 36-5-604; and Tennessee Court Rules Annotated, Supreme Court Rules, Tennessee Uniform Administrative Rules Act, Title 4, Chapter 5].
PREMARITAL AGREEMENT: Tennessee does not have any statutes pertaining to premarital agreements.
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