Overview of Divorce in Tennessee

Tennessee divorce laws have a lot of details to them; however, they aren't all that difficult to understand. People seeking a divorce in this state can quickly get an understanding of the basics.

Grounds for Divorce in Tennessee

There are several grounds under which divorce can be granted in Tennessee. Courts will grant ‘no fault' divorces if a couple agrees to irreconcilable differences or if they have been living apart for two years or more with no minor children. Plaintiffs can also file for divorce under one of many ‘fault' grounds. Choosing one of these divorce grounds means that the plaintiff must prove the ‘fault' of the spouse to the court. Here are the possible grounds for divorce that may be granted:

  • Impotence
  • Adultery
  • Conviction and imprisonment for a felony
  • Drug addition and/or alcoholism
  • At the time of marriage, the wife is pregnant with another man's baby without the husband's knowledge
  • Willful desertion for a year or more
  • At the time of marriage, one spouse is already married to another person (bigamy)
  • Endangering the life of the spouse
  • Conviction of an infamous crime
  • Refusal to move to Tennessee with a spouse and willfully staying away from a new residence in Tennessee for two or more years
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment
  • Unsafe and improper marital conduct
  • Making a spouse's life intolerable through indignities
  • Abandonment, neglect, or banning the spouse from the house

Property Distribution in Tennessee

This state is an ‘equitable distribution' state, which means that it divides marital property fairly. If the divorcing spouses cannot reach an agreement regarding the division of property, the court will divide the property in a fair manner.

First of all, the court will determine which property is separate and which is marital. Separate property consists of the following, and will not be divided:

  • Property that was acquired before marriage
  • Anything that was acquired by gift or inheritance
  • Property given in exchange for any separate property
  • Property obtained from income or appreciation of other property—if the other spouse didn't contribute in any way

Marital income will be divided—without concern about marital fault or misconduct. The courts in Tennessee consider these factors (among others) when distributing the items:

  • Each spouse's contribution to the acquisition of the marital property (including contributions as homemaker and parent)
  • Marriage length
  • Ability of each spouse for further property acquisition

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