When your marriage has come to an end it can be a scary, emotional time. You will have many questions as this represents a huge, stressful change in your life. Here we have a few typical questions about how the divorce process works in Tennessee – but remember that you are a unique individual with circumstances unlike anyone else’s, and it is a smart idea to come speak to us about your case, so that you get the right information for your needs.

Going in to the divorce proceedings, the spouse who initially files for divorce in domestic relations court is referred to as the ‘Plaintiff.’ The spouse who receives the divorce papers is referred to as the ‘Defendant.’

For how long must I live in Tennessee in order to get divorced here?

The residency requirement in order to file for divorce in Tennessee is six months.

Must I have grounds to file for divorce?

You have two options when filing for divorce in TN:

  1. No-fault divorce. This option is now available in all 50 states. In Tennessee, you can be granted a divorce under the no-fault option if the two of you decide that there are irreconcilable differences between you and you both agree on this fact.  You must also agree on each and every term of the property settlement, called the Marital Dissolution Agreement, as well as a residential schedule in a Parenting Plan if you have children.
  2. Fault: There are 13 different grounds for divorce including impotence, adultery and alcoholism. See: (Tennessee Code – Volume 6A, Title 36, Sections 36-4-101 and 36-4-103)

How does property get divided in a divorce in Tennessee?

Depending on how many assets and how much debt you have, the property division process can be fairly complex. Tennessee is an equitable distribution state, so property is divided fairly and equitably depending on the unique circumstances of each case as opposed to being split down the middle 50/50 as would be the case in a community property state.

You and your spouse make a list of all of your assets and debts and you come up with a plan that you can both agree on as to how you would divide them. Your divorce attorney will help you come up with a plan. If you cannot work it out between you, there is the option of mediation or letting the court decide.

Will I get alimony?

The question of alimony or spousal support/ maintenance is always a complicated one. For marriages of short duration where both spouses contribute financially to the household, alimony is unlikely, but in marriages of longer duration where one spouse worked outside the home and the other spouse worked within the home and cared for the children alimony is a likely option. Spousal support is always at the discretion of the court.

We have children. How are custody and support decided?

You and your spouse can work out a custody agreement/ co-parenting plan that works for your family, you can work with a mediator or you can let the courts decide the custody arrangement. Tennessee has child support guidelines and a calculator that you can use to get a rough idea of how much child support you might owe or expect to receive after answering the questions on the online form.

These are just basic answers to some important, life-changing questions. You will get the most accurate answers as they pertain to your situation when you speak with a Nashville divorce attorney.

If you are contemplating a divorce, give us a call. At the law office of Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC we have more than 40 years of experience supporting families through the challenges of divorce. We are ready to help you, too.