FAQs on Tennessee Divorce Law

FAQs on Tennessee Divorce Law

Going through a divorce isn’t easy. Many factors can make it a lot more complicated — children, length of time married, in-laws, assets, and so much more.

Whether you’re the one filing for a divorce or you’ve been served with the papers, it may feel like your world is crashing down around you.

You’re in a very vulnerable and confusing place. You need the information to help you prepare for what is coming next.

At Hunter Fowler Law, We provide legal services to a variety of individuals going through precisely what you’re experiencing right now. We want to help you answer some of the top questions you may have regarding getting a divorce in the state of Tennessee. 

6 Frequently-Asked Questions About Tennessee Divorce Laws

#1. How do I file for a divorce in Tennessee?

To begin the process of filing, you have to:

  • Find your County Court Clerk
  • Pay the filing fee
  • File a Complaint for Divorce
  • File a summons
  • Provide your spouse’s personal information 
  • Serve the other spouse with those papers

Depending on your County, you might also need to fill out a civil case cover sheet, Certificate of Divorce, or other papers. It’s always good to talk with an attorney to ensure that you are filing all of the proper paperwork.

#2. How do I serve divorce papers to my spouse?

Serving the divorce complaint to your spouse can be done through your County’s sheriff’s department, sending the complaint by mail, or using a private process server. If you choose to mail the divorce complaint, your spouse will need to sign an acknowledgment of service of process to comply with Tennessee law.

#3. How much does it cost to file for a divorce in Tennessee?

The cost of filing for divorce can vary depending on many factors involved. This includes things such as:

  • The fees that the local sheriff or private process server charges to serve the divorce complaint to your spouse. These fees are usually less than $100.
  • Publishing a legal notice can be more expensive depending on the newspaper. These fees can be $50 or more.

#4. Where can I file for divorce?

You have a few choices on where you can file for divorce, depending on where you and your spouse live.

  • You can file in the County where you and your spouse live.
  • You can file in the County where your spouse lives now.
  • You can file in the County where you lived when you separated.

Depending on the County, your divorce can be filed in the General Sessions Court, the Circuit Court, or the Chancery Court. You should be able to check your County’s website and see if they list the details. If you are not sure, call the court clerk’s office and ask if their court hears divorce cases. 

#5. What are the grounds for filing for divorce?

Tennessee is both a fault-based and no-fault state in regards to divorce. In an uncontested divorce, all one party must do is cite irreconcilable differences. However, in a contested divorce, you must provide proof of grounds.

 If the divorce is contested, there are a few types of grounds that are acceptable.

  • Adultery
  • Habitual abuse of drugs or alcohol 
  • Not living in the same household for more than two years with no minor children
  • Inappropriate marital conduct
  • Conviction of a felony
  • Willful or malicious desertion for one full year without reasonable cause
  • If the wife was pregnant by another before the marriage and the husband was not aware
  • Refusing to move into Tennessee with your spouse and living apart for two years
  • Lack of reconciliation for two years after the entry of a decree of separate maintenance
  • The malicious attempt upon the life of another
  • Bigamy
  • Impotence and sterility
  • Refusal, abandonment, or neglect to provide for a spouse even though you were able to do so

#6. How long does it take to get a divorce?

If you and your spouse have children, a divorce will not be granted for at least 90 days. This is part of a cooling-off period after the Complaint for Divorce is filed.

However, if there are no minor children, a divorce can be granted 60 days after the Complaint for Divorce has been filed.

Contested divorces can be more complicated. There can be debts and assets that need to be unwound, child custody challenges have to be negotiated, and many other factors have to be addressed. In these cases, a contested divorce may take as long as one or two years to complete.

You also have to consider the residency requirement. A divorce can only be granted in Tennessee if the defendant or plaintiff has lived in the state for at least six months before filing the Complaint for Divorce.

Get the Support You Need

At Hunter Fowler Law, we know that this is a difficult time. Emotions are high, and there is a lot to get done. We are here to help you through every step. Contact us today to get the answers you need to help you move forward during this next stage of your life.