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Divorce Laws in Tennessee

In Tennessee, if the court believes that there is any chance that the marriage can be saved it will postpone the divorce proceedings and ask the couple to try mediation or counseling.

In a divorce where there are minor children the parents are required to attend parenting classes.

Residency and jurisdiction in Tennessee
At least one spouse must live in Tennessee for at least six months before filing for divorce, or the spouse filing for divorce must have lived in Tennessee when the cause of divorce occurred.

Divorce may be filed in the country where either spouse lives.

Fault or no fault and grounds for divorce in Tennessee
Tennessee allows fault and no fault divorce. No fault divorce is granted on any of the following grounds:

  • Irreconcilable differences if the couple submits a dissolution agreement and neither spouse contests the existence of irreconcilable differences
  • Irreconcilable differences combined with fault-based grounds
  • Separation with no sexual relations for at least two years if there are no minor children

Acceptable grounds for fault divorce are:

  • Impotence
  • Adultery
  • Imprisonment for a felony
  • Addiction to drugs or alcohol
  • Wife was pregnant by another man at the time of marriage without the husband’s knowledge
  • Desertion for at least one year
  • Bigamy
  • Endangering the life of the spouse
  • Criminal conviction
  • Refusal to move to Tennessee for at least two years after spouse has moved to the state
  • Cruel and inhumane treatment
  • Unsafe marital conduct
  • Treatment that makes life intolerable
  • Abandonment, neglect, or banning the spouse from the home

Division of property in Tennessee
Tennessee is an "equitable distribution" State meaning the property is not divided 50/50 but rather in a manner that the court deems fair to both parties. Marital fault is not a consideration when dividing property. This court must consider many factors including:

  • Length of marriage
  • Contribution to the acquisition and value, up or down, of the property including contribution as a homemaker
  • Value of separate property at the time of marriage and at the time of divorce
  • Age and health
  • Vocational skills
  • Debts and needs
  • Potential for future acquisition of property and future income
  • Current and future earning capacity
  • Contribution to the education and earning capacity of the other spouse
  • Employability and earning capacity
  • Social Security benefits
  • Tax consequences

Spousal support in Tennessee
Spousal support, in Tennessee, may be rehabilitative or permanent. When determining spousal support the court must consider the following:

  • Length of marriage
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Value of separate property and property awarded in property division
  • Child custody and its effect on employability
  • Education and training required to become self supporting
  • Financial resources
  • Needs and debts
  • Contributions to the marriage including contributions as a homemaker and contributions to the education and earning capacity of the other spouse
  • Age and physical and mental health
  • Occupation
  • Vocational skills and employability of the spouse seeking support
  • Marital conduct
  • Tax consequences

Child custody and support in Tennessee
When parents cannot agree on child custody in Tennessee, the court will decide for them based on the following factors:

  • Love, affection and emotional ties between parents and child
  • Continuity and length of time the child has lived in a stable and satisfactory environment
  • Domestic violence or physical or mental abuse to the child, spouse, or any other person
  • Stability of the family unit
  • Mental and physical health of the parents
  • Child’s adjustment to home, school, and community
  • Child’s wishes if over 12 years old
  • Character and behavior of anyone who lives with or visits the parent
  • Past and potential performance of parenting duties
  • Willingness and ability to foster a close relationship of the child with the other parent

Tennessee uses the Percentage of Income formula for calculating child support. One parent may be required to carry health insurance for the child. The parent paying child support may be required to carry life insurance to ensure support.

If you are considering or facing divorce in Tennessee, contact an experienced Tennessee divorce attorney today.

Click here to select from qualified Tennessee lawyers in your area.

Click on a link to find a Divorce Lawyer in that state.
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Disclaimer: Divorce law information contained throughout this page is intended to generally inform you about divorce law in Tennessee and introduce you to divorce lawyers throughout the U.S. The information regarding divorce and divorce law is not meant to be taken as legal advice. If you like to speak with an experienced divorce attorney, click on the link to your state to find an experienced divorce lawyer in your area for an initial consultation.
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