The divorce law in Tennessee makes it so that divorcing couples can finish the process as quickly and as easily as possible. In fact, the biggest delays happen when spouses fail to cooperate, or if compromises cannot be reached between parties. If you’re looking to understand the basics of the Tennessee divorce process, here is what you need to know.
The state of Tennessee has a couple of requirements for those looking to get a divorce. After drafting the original divorce complaint, you must wait 60 to 90 days before it goes through. In order to meet the requirements for this, either you or your spouse must have lived in Tennessee for at least six months, prior to submitting the complaint.
A no-fault filing typically includes under “irreconcilable differences”, specifying an issue between spouses that is unable to be rectified. Fault grounds can include separation for two or more years, abandonment for one or more years, a spouse convicted of a felony, substance abuse, or other specific types of inappropriate conduct.
The Divorce Process
Once a divorce complaint has been filed the process has begun. Either you or your divorce attorney can hire a process server or ask the sheriff’s office to serve the official papers to your spouse. You may also have the papers mailed, should your spouse consent. To do this, a Waiver of Service of Process must be signed and submitted. If the divorce is fault-based, you must then begin the process of proving the misconduct. Evidence can be testimony, photos, recorded correspondence, or anything else that demonstrates the reported misconduct.
The next step in the process is the division of assets. If both parties agree, a Marital Settlement Agreement can be signed. If both parties are unable to reach an agreement, the court will decide. Firstly, both parties will receive the things they owned prior to their marriage, along with anything that was gifted or inherited. Secondly, assets acquired during the marriage will be divided. Who gets what will depend on the value of each party’s property, individual income, and personal financial needs.
Finally, the court will decide on alimony. In the state of Tennessee, alimony is primarily awarded in instances where rehabilitation is needed. This means if a party is unable to provide for themselves the other party may be required to pay until stability is achieved. Several factors are considered during this time, such as health, age, the length of the marriage, income, and the value of each party’s assets.
If children are involved, it may be best to get advice from a lawyer well versed in child custody law. In the event of a custody dispute, the court will decide based on what they find to be best for the child. This will also include visitation rights and a schedule to ensure both parents are able to stay active in their child’s life. Once custody is awarded, the parent who was not awarded primary custody may be required to pay additional support.
In the divorce process, there are two major waiting periods. If there are no issues or conflicts, the divorce can finalize after a 60 day waiting period, or 90 if children are involved. After the finalization, an additional period of around 30 days exists before either party can remarry.
If you are seeking a divorce in the state of Tennessee, this is the most basic process that you need to be aware of. While things will vary depending on circumstances, by working with a divorce lawyer you can stay informed throughout the entire process.