Divorce in Tennessee
Parenting plan, seminar required when minor children involved
Help with domestic violence
If domestic violence is a facet of your situation, you should address it immediately. An experienced, trained divorce attorney can help you with referrals and legal issues. Online resources include:
- Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence (TCEDSV);
- a 2006 report, “The Impact of Domestic Violence on the Tennessee Economy.”
Also, your divorce attorney should be able to provide referrals for counseling, which can be of great benefit during a potentially traumatic phase: many people describe going through a divorce being like a death in the family.
Fault versus no-fault
Tennessee statutes have two provisions for “no-fault” divorce:
- Irreconcilable differences between the parties (and each agrees and signs appropriate forms); and
- For a continuous period of two (2) or more years that commenced prior to or after April 18, 1985, both parties have lived in separate residences, have not cohabited as man and wife during such period, and there are no minor children of the parties.
Fault-based “grounds” for divorce are similar to many other states but also including some oddities:
- impotence at the time of marriage, continuing to present
- unreasonable, willful abandonment, lasting one year or longer
- conviction of a crime that renders the person “infamous”
- conviction of a felony/sentenced to penitentiary
- attempted homicide on the the other spouse
- unreasonably refusing to move to Tennessee with spouse, resulting in absence from spouse for two years
- wife pregnant by other than lawful husband at time of marriage, without knowledge of husband
- habitual drunkenness/narcotics use, begun after marriage
- “inappropriate marital conduct” (cruel and inhuman treatment)
- indignities rendering spouse’s position intolerable
- neglect, “having turned the spouse out of doors,” when able to provide for spouse.
Residency requirements and venue for filing
According to USLegal.com:
Tennessee law requires that the acts complained of must have been committed while the plaintiff was a resident of the state. If the acts complained of were committed outside of Tennessee and the plaintiff resided outside of the state at the time, either of the parties must have resided in Tennessee for six (6) months prior to the filing of the petition. TCA 36-4-104
The petition for divorce may be filed in the county where the parties last shared a residence, where the defendant resides if a resident of Tennessee, or where the plaintiff resides if the defendant is a non-resident. TCA 36-4-105
Other online resources
- Tennessee Legal Aid, for low-income or elderly, abused clients
- Tennessee Courts home page
- Parents’ Questions, concerning the Parenting Plan for minor children
- A Seminar for Divorcing Parents (“designed to meet the guidelines of the Tennessee Parenting Plan Law. The program must be completed within 90 days of filing for your divorce.”)
- State Courts’ “Divorce Packet,” for those with no children and no or few assets.
We can help. If you’re ready to begin the search for a compatible, well trained, experienced divorce attorney, you can start with our free case evaluation. If you need more information, please browse our site, using the tabs at the top of the page.