Title 36 of the Tennessee Code is dedicated to domestic relations, and Chapter 4 of this title applies to divorce and annulment. In the state, a divorce may be contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce involves both spouses agreeing to the divorce, but a contested divorce occurs when one spouse seeks a divorce against the desires of the other spouse.
If you are considering filing for divorce in Memphis, it is important to know the recognized grounds in the state and be familiar with the process. It is also a good idea to consult with an experienced divorce attorney who can counsel you further on how divorce proceedings go and will help you retain what is most important to you and your life moving forward.
Shannon A. Jones, Attorney at Law, has been helping families in Tennessee since 1997, and our firm places a particular emphasis on protecting the rights of children. You can have our lawyer provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (901) 390-9041 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.
Grounds for Divorce in Tennessee
Tennessee Code § 36-4-101(a) establishes the following 15 causes of divorce from the bonds of matrimony:
Being impotent and incapable of procreation.
Knowingly entering into a second marriage.
“Willful or malicious desertion or absence” for one year.
Being convicted of any crime that “renders the party infamous.”
Being convicted of a felony and sentenced to confinement.
Attempting to take the life of the other.
Refusal to move to Tennessee without reasonable cause and being willfully absent from the spouse residing in Tennessee for two years.
Becoming pregnant by another person without the knowledge of the husband.
Habitual drunkenness or abuse of narcotic drugs.
Cruel and inhuman treatment or conduct towards spouse rendering cohabitation unsafe and improper (inappropriate marital conduct).
Offering such indignities to the spouse to render their position intolerable and forcing a withdrawal.
Abandonment and refusal or neglect to provide for the spouse while having the ability to do so.
Both parties living in separate residences and not cohabitating as man and wife for two or more years continuously (and no minor children).
Of these listed grounds, irreconcilable differences and the two parties living in separate residences for two years are the only no-fault grounds for divorce in the state. All no-fault or uncontested divorces are based on irreconcilable differences. All other causes are grounds for contested divorces.
Types of Divorce Cases in Tennessee
Shannon A. Jones, Attorney at Law, handles many different kinds of divorce cases. Every case is different and involves unique circumstances.
Some of the most common issues we handle in divorce include but are not limited to:
Spousal Support and Alimony
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Child Custody Establishment and Modification
Child Support Establishment and Modification
Enforcement of a Court Order
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Divorce will end with either a trial or a settlement. The trial is undoubtedly the costlier outcome, but a settlement can usually be negotiated when both spouses are committed to achieving a workable solution.
Requirements to Get a Divorce
To file for divorce in Tennessee, one spouse must have resided in the state for at least six months. The divorce process customarily begins with the filing of a petition or complaint and the spouse then must be served the divorce papers, which is often handled by the sheriff’s office but can be mailed with a signed and filed Waiver of Service Process.
The forms you will need to complete include:
The Request for Divorce, Form 1 needs to be signed and notarized.
Spouses’ Personal Information, Form 2 is filled out and put it in a letter-size envelope.
Health Insurance Notice, Form 4 must be filed with the clerk and a copy mailed to the spouse by certified mail.
Both spouses must sign and have notarized the Divorce Agreement, Form 5.
The final Decree of Divorce, Form 6 must be signed by both spouses.
Court Order for Divorcing Spouses, Form 7 must be signed by both spouses.
An attorney can help you fill out and properly file all of these forms.
Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce in Tennessee
What Is An Annulment?
Annulment is frequently asked about, but rarely applicable. A person could annul a marriage only if their marriage was invalid from its very beginning.
Some of the grounds for annulment include a spouse not being of legal age, incest (spouses being related), bigamy, insanity, duress, impotence, fraud, or denial of the spouse’s marital rights. An annulment will need to be filed in court with much of the same alimony, child custody, child support, and property division elements required in divorce paperwork.
Do I Need A Lawyer For An Uncontested Divorce?
You do not need an attorney for an uncontested divorce, but it is still a very good idea to have one. Many people who may be in a rush to complete an amicable divorce overlook some essential considerations that prove to have enormous consequences later on.
Modifying your divorce decree can be very costly and time-consuming. With a lawyer, you can be sure that everything is being handled the right way. You will likely want an attorney if you are not completely satisfied with proposed child custody, alimony, property division, or child support plans.
How Long Will It Take To Finalize A Divorce?
Tennessee Code § 36-4-101(b) establishes that a complaint or petition for divorce on any ground must be on file for 60 days before being heard when the parties have no unmarried child under 18 years of age and at least 90 days when the parties have an unmarried child under 18 years of age.
This is often known as a “cooling off” period. In general, an uncontested divorce is much more likely to be resolved sooner than a contested divorce. An uncontested divorce can be finalized in a matter of months while a contested divorce could stretch out over several years.
Contact a Tennessee Divorce Lawyer Today
If you are considering or planning on filing for divorce in the greater Memphis area, know that you are not alone, and that compassionate, knowledgeable legal counsel is available to you. Shannon A. Jones, Attorney at Law, has extensive experience helping people like you through the challenging process of divorce and on to the next, brighter chapter of your life.
This isn’t the end, it is the beginning of something new. We’re here to help you get there. Call (901) 390-9041 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with a knowledgeable member of our team today.