divorced in Tennessee

Divorce in Tennessee: What You Need to Know This 2023

Deciding to pursue a divorce is undoubtedly a difficult choice. It’s a process that involves a wide range of legal, emotional, and practical considerations. If you are considering divorce in Tennessee, it’s crucial to be well-informed about the state’s laws and procedures governing divorce.

To eliminate some of the uncertainty accompanying divorce, you must arm yourself with the correct information to help you understand what will happen throughout the process. This comprehensive guide aims to provide you with crucial information to navigate through the divorce process in Tennessee, ensuring that you are equipped with the knowledge and resources needed to make informed decisions.

Understanding Tennessee Divorce Laws

Before embarking on the divorce journey, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with Tennessee’s divorce laws. In Tennessee, divorce can be categorized as either fault-based or no-fault divorce.

No-fault divorce is the most common type of divorce. A no-fault divorce means that the person filing for divorce doesn’t have to prove fault on the other spouse’s part. The couple must only declare they are no longer compatible or claim irreconcilable differences.

Fault-based divorce requires proof of specific grounds. In an at-fault divorce, the judge can consider the guilt of one of the parties and hold them financially responsible for the breakup. In Tennessee, marital fault doesn’t impact property or debt. The person at fault will likely see an increase in alimony awarded or child custody.

Residency Requirements

To file for divorce in Tennessee, you or your spouse must be a state resident for at least six months. You must also file for divorce in your or your spouse’s county. Fulfilling the residency requirements is crucial before initiating the divorce process.

Division of Marital Assets and Debts

Tennessee follows the principle of equitable distribution when dividing marital property and debts. Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean an equal split but rather a fair division based on several factors.

The judge will begin by equally distributing assets and debts and adjust based on certain factors. These factors result in one spouse receiving more than the other.

Some of those factors include:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Contributions of each spouse that has affected the training, education, or has increased the earning potential of the other spouse
  • Earning potential of each spouse
  • Financial needs of each spouse
  • Value of the separate property of each spouse
  • Applicable social security benefits of each spouse
  • Tax consequences of each
  • Other factors that would affect the equal split of marital property and debt


If one spouse is given a gift, that is considered separate property and isn’t subject to the division of marital assets. However, if the gift is commingled with marital assets, it could be divided and regarded as a marital asset.


Inheritance is also considered separate property in Tennessee. However, as with gifts, if the inheritance is commingled with marital assets, it could be considered marital property. For example, if you inherit a home and your spouse lives there, it may be considered marital property.

Retirement Accounts

IRAs, pensions, 401Ks, and retirement plans will be considered marital property. That being said, only the amount earned during the marriage is subject to division during the divorce.

Child Custody

Tennessee courts prioritize the best interests of the child when making custody decisions. Regarding child custody, parents can work together to create a parenting plan that outlines the allocation of decision-making responsibilities, visitation schedules, and child support arrangements. The court will intervene and decide based on various factors if an agreement cannot be reached.

The courts will decide based on the child’s best interest. For example, they can grant custody to one parent responsible for the child’s education, medical care, religious affiliations, and other major life decisions. They may also require both parents to be involved in the decision-making process.

Child Support

Determining child support arrangements is a critical aspect of the divorce process. Child support is determined by following Tennessee’s Child Support Guidelines.

The process of calculating and awarding child support begins with the completion of a Tennessee Child Support Worksheet. The information on this worksheet will be used to calculate the amount of child support awarded.

Spousal Support

In some cases, spousal support, also known as alimony, may be awarded to one spouse if the court deems it necessary. Factors considered when determining spousal support include the length of the marriage, the financial resources of each spouse, and the ability to earn income. Depending on the circumstances, temporary, rehabilitative, or long-term support may be awarded.

Mediation and Collaborative Divorce in Tennessee

Tennessee encourages couples to consider mediation or collaborative divorce as alternatives to litigation. Mediation involves a neutral third party who helps facilitate negotiations and assists in reaching a mutually satisfactory agreement.

Collaborative divorce, on the other hand, involves a team of professionals, including attorneys and therapists, working together to achieve a resolution. These approaches can help reduce conflict, save time, and minimize the emotional toll on both parties.

Trust the Comprehensive Legal Counsel of Attorney Hunter Fowler

Divorce is a challenging and life-changing event. Understanding the laws and procedures surrounding divorce in Tennessee allows you to navigate the process more effectively and make informed decisions. Remember to consult an experienced attorney specializing in family law to guide you through the legal complexities and protect your interests.

Seeking emotional support from trusted friends, family, or therapists to help you cope with the emotional challenges of divorce is essential. With knowledge, support, and careful planning, you can successfully navigate the divorce process and move forward to a brighter future.

Attorney Hunter Fowler is prepared to do what it takes to make sure your needs are heard and met. While you may not know what to expect during a divorce, you can rest easy knowing that Hunter Fowler will listen to you and provide you with the best representation possible.

Contact us today for a consultation.