Tennessee Divorce & Separation
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Getting a separation or divorce is common in every state, but the laws and rules that govern these processes can vary widely depending on what state you live in. It’s important to know the details in your state before starting in on the divorce process. What are the requirements for getting a divorce in Tennessee? Is mediation a requirement before you can get a Tennessee divorce? What is Tennessee law on annulments? Find the answers to your Tennessee divorce questions here.
Tennessee Legal Separation:
Legal separations are allowed in Tennessee and generally granted for up to two years, after which time the court may grant an absolute divorce (if the parties have not reconciled by then and a petition for absolute divorce is filed). Once the separation is granted, the court may modify or add to the decree in order to address visitation issues, provide spousal support, and/or child support.
Grounds for Divorce/Fault – No Fault:
Tennessee has both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. For no-fault divorces, “irreconcilable differences” is the basic standard the parties must meet to show grounds. Fault-based grounds are considerably more specific, for instance: adultery, bigamy, impotence, extreme cruelty, willful desertion, two year period of separation, the suffering of “intolerable indignities,” abandonment with refusal to provide for the other spouse, and abuse of controlled substances or alcohol.
Residency/Where to File for Divorce:
To file for divorce, either party must be an actual resident of the state, or if the grounds for divorce occurred outside the state, either party must reside in the state for at least 6 months before filing the complaint. For military personnel, this requirement rises to one year. The petition must be filed in the local circuit court of the county where the parties resided at the time of their separation, or in either the county where the defendant resides or the applicant resides.
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Divorce Mediation in Tennessee:
Mediation is voluntary in Tennessee, meaning that although a judge has the right to order parties into mediation (and frequently will do so), there is no requirement that a mediation agreement be reached. But the process must be undertaken (when ordered) if there are issues in the divorce that could potentially be resolved faster, cheaper, and with less acrimony through mediation than in court. If you’re interested in more information, please take a look at the relevant sections (cited in Tennessee Divorce Laws & Resources) of the Tennessee Supreme Court Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 31.
An annulment is a court declaration that your marriage is legally invalid. In other words, rather than ending a marriage via divorce, an annulment is a declaration that the marriage was never valid to begin with, for reasons including: consent obtained by fraud, previous marriage (unless absent for 5 years and not known to be living), bigamy, incest, and same sex.
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Tennessee Divorce Laws: Click below to find the Tennessee Divorce laws you’re looking for: