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Tennessee Divorce: What You Should Know

We know that proceeding with a divorce is challenging and emotional for you. We've helped people through the divorce process in locations across Tennessee, and we're here to make the experience as easy as possible.

Among the things you can count on when you pursue a Tennessee divorce online is our guarantee: Your divorce papers will be accurate and accepted by the court or we will refund your money. We're confident about offering our guarantee because it is an ongoing priority for us to ensure that our documents incorporate the most recent court regulations.If for some reason your court rejects your documents, we'll correct them for re-filing. If they're still not right, you'll get your money back.

Divorce in Tennessee

Understanding divorce laws and processes is very important. Our team of experts is available to help you at every step.Here is key information about divorce in Tennessee:

Where to File

Be sure that Tennessee has jurisdiction for your divorce

Tennessee law says that you must have been a Tennessee resident at the time the grounds for divorce occurred. If the grounds took place outside the state, you or your spouse must be a resident for six months prior to filing. Your divorce action must filed in the county in which both spouses reside if you are both residents; or the county in which your spouse resides if he or she is a resident.

If you have minor children who have lived with your spouse in another state for more than six months, it may be to your advantage to file in that state, since its courts will have the power to decide what happens to the children. Note: Your spouse has the option to waive that jurisdiction, which must be done properly, in writing.

 

With the exception of an option for residents living overseas, you must file your divorce in the county in which you presently live, or in the county where your spouse resides, if different. You or your spouse must have a residence within the county (in Tennessee) in which you file for your divorce. If you live overseas, you can file in Tennessee if you have maintained your residency in Tennessee.

Military Divorce

Military personnel on active duty--or their spouses--can file for divorce in Tennessee provided they have been stationed in the state for six months or were residents of the state upon entering active duty.

Our staff is highly knowledgeable about special military requirements and the details of Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act.

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Grounds For Divorce

NO-FAULT or FAULT ?

No-Fault Based Grounds:
(1) Irreconcilable differences

(2) living separate and apart without cohabitation for two years when there are no minor children.

Fault Based Grounds:
(1) Impotence;

(2) adultery;

(3) Incarceration or felony conviction;

(4) alcohol and drug addiction;

(5) wife is pregnant by another at the time of marriage without husband’s knowledge;

(6) willful desertion for one year;

(7) bigamy;

(8) endangering the life of the spouse;

(9) conviction of an infamous crime;

(10) refusing to move to Tennessee with a spouse and willfully absenting oneself from a new residence for 2 years;

(11) cruel and inhuman treatment;

(12) indignities that make the spouse’s life intolerable; and

(13) abandonment, neglect, or banning the spouse from the home.

Waiting Periods

Waiting Periods refer to the time that a court requires to pass from the time the divorce is filed and the time that your divorce decree becomes final.

Divorce law in Tennessee requires that 60 days pass between the time of the filing of the petition and the hearing of the divorce if the parties have no minor children.

Tennessee law further requires that neither you nor your spouse may remarry, except to each other, until sixty days following the judgment of divorce is entered

About child custody, visitation, property and support

Here is information pertaining to child custody, property, and support issues.It can help you determine the appropriate way to have your divorce documents prepared.

Child Custody

 CHILD CUSTODY:

Legal Custody: There are two types: Joint Legal Custody or Sole Legal Custody. These govern decisions made regarding how the child(ren) will be raised.

In Joint Custody, the parents decide together about regarding the child(ren)'s upbringing.

With Sole Custody, one parent makes the decisions about raising the child(ren).

Physical Custody: This determines the child(ren)'s primary residence after the divorce is final. They will live with the primary residential parent. The other parent may have visitation rights depending on the visitation schedule provided in your divorce documents.

Visitation is the same irrespective of a grant of joint custody or sole custody.

VISITATION:

This can be any schedule and details that you agree upon with your spouse, and can be changed. If you and your spouse cannot reach agreement then the state's guidelines take effect. These are outlined in the Marital Separation Agreement (MSA) provided with your divorce documents. You don't have to include your present visitation agreement. “No Visitation” or “Restricted Visitation” may be requested by supplying the reason when you fill out our questionnaire.

Child Support

There are two methods for determining support for the children involved in a divorce:.

1. You can agree with your spouse on an amount for child support. We'll prepare your divorce documents with the child support amount ordered this amount. Provided the amount is reasonable, a court usually will order it as part of you overall agreement. It is rare for a court to change an amount for child support when you both agree.

2. You can ask the court to award child support in conformance with Tennessee's child support guidelines. The support will be either an amount you and your spouse agree upon, or determined for you by the court. If you want the court to calculate the amount of child support for you, you must file the standardized Child Support Guidelines form and Child Support Income Statement/Affidavit. We provide these among the documents that we send you.

Property & Debts

When you divorce, the personal property (vehicles, retirement accounts, furniture, businesses, etc.) owned by you and your spouse is divided. Most states are community property states, although it is referred to by different names in some states. Essentially, the property of the marriage is split equally.

Debts are handled in much the same way. Most often, spouses are able to agree on how to split their assets and debts. In an uncontested divorce, this division is accomplished using a Marital Separation Agreement (MSA). When you and your spouse agree to the property and debt division, and formalize it in the Marital Separation Agreement, it becomes incorporated by reference into the Decree of Divorce that ends your marriage. You and your spouse can divide your property however you like, provided a basic fairness is maintained. You are not required to list all the property and debts that you are dividing, as long as you agree. Some items, such as vehicles and homes, typically do get listed.

If you want to alter how you and your spouse split your property and/or debts after we have prepared your documents, just email us or contact us by phone. We'll revise your documents for you without additional charge for up to one year.

If you and your spouse cannot agree on how your property is to be divided, the marriage dissolution becomes a contested divorce instead. If at your final hearing your divorce is still contested we don't provide advice. You might have to consult an attorney or be prepared to explain to a judge why you feel your requested division of property is fair.

Real Property

If there is a home--or more than one--that you own with your spouse, you must decide how to split this property. Here are some of the options you can consider to divide your real property:

1. SELL THE HOME(S):  You split the net proceeds equally, or however you agree is fair. Some spouses decide to defer selling until a child is out of school or until the property increases in value. You can include in your divorce documents whatever you decide about this.

2. AWARD THE PROPERTY TO ONE PARTY: Usually, that party will be required to make the future payments on the property. In these cases, a quitclaim deed is usually signed. This document removes one party from the property's deed, thus making the person who is awarded the home its sole owner. Issues such as refinancing can be provided for in your divorce documents.

Spousal Support

Spousal Support is either agreed upon by the parties or determined by the judge in a contested hearing. See Code of Tennessee - Title 30 - Chapters: 2-51, 2-52, and 2-55. We cannot give legal advice regarding spousal support but will include your request for support in the documents.

There isn't a standard calculation for spousal support. If you and your spouse cannot agree on an amount for spousal support, the amount will be determined by the Judge based on many factors, including some of the following:

1. Length of marriage

2. Standard of living prior to divorce.

3. Ability for both parties to get employment.

4. Retraining in the workforce

5. Disabilities and other factors.

Tennessee Court Locations:

Here is information about some of the courts in Tennessee. If your County isn't listed, we'll include the court information when we send your documents.

Davidson County Circuit Court: 1 Public Square, Suite 302, Nashville, TN 37201 P.O. Box 196303, Nashville, TN 37219 Phone: 615-862-5181 Fax: 615-862-5191 Filing Fax: 615-296-4501
Knox County Circuit Court: M-30 C/C Building, 3323 Division Street, Knoxville, TN 37902 Phone: 865-215-2400
Hamilton County Circuit Court: 201 Seventh Street, Room 500, Chattanooga TN 37402 Phone: 423-209-6700
Shelby County Circuit Court: 140 Adams Avenue, Room 324, Memphis, TN 38103 Phone: (901) 545-4710
Madison County Chancery Court: Courthouse, Room 200, 100 East Main Street, Jackson, TN 38301 Phone: 731-423-6032
Montgomery County Chancery Court: Two Millennium Plaza, Suite 101, Clarksville, TN 37041 Phone: (931) 648-5703 Fax (931) 648-5874
Washington County Circuit Court: Downtown Centre, Johnson City, TN Phone (423) 461-1415
Washington County Chancery Court: Downtown Centre, Johnson City, TN Phone: (423) 461-1450
Rutherford County Circuit Court: Judicial Building, Room 201, Murfreesboro TN Phone: Civil Division:(615) 898-7820 Fax: (615) 217-7119
Rutherford County Chancery Court: Judicial Building, Suite 302, Public Square North, Murfreesboro TN 37130 Phone: (615) 898-7860 Fax: (615) 849-9553.

Tennessee Divorce Filing Fees.

The court filing fees for a divorce in Tennessee is approximately $182.50 plus $75 with children.

If your spouse won't sign and must be served, then the sheriff may charge a fee of approximately $25 to serve your spouse.

Note: If the whereabouts of your spouse is unknown, then a publication fee will apply. The publication fee is approximately $65.

There are no additional fees for an uncontested divorce.
You may call the Clerk of the Court in your county to determine the exact fees in your county.

Methods of serving your spouse: 

1. Your spouse Signs: The most common way is to have your spouse sign the documents AFTER you have filed the divorce complaint with the court. You can deliver the documents by hand, send them via postal mail, or have a third party deliver them to your spouse. This method is available even if your spouse is incarcerated. 

2. Personal Service: If your spouse will not sign or you are not sure if your spouse will sign then you can have him or her served with the documents by the sheriff in your spouse’s county. You can contact the sheriff in any county of any state to perform this service. You can also achieve service via Certified Mail, (make sure to include "Return Receipt Requested") if your spouse lives outside your state. If your spouse is incarcerated then you can have him or her served by the prison/jail officials.

3. Service by publication. If you can't locate your spouse then you can publish. The publication fee for a newspaper averages about $65 but this varies significantly. You file an Affidavit with the county clerk, who then directs that service of notice be made by publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the complaint is filed. We give you all the documents you need for service by publication.

 
 
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