Do You Need Specific Legal Grounds to Obtain a Divorce?

Getting a divorce is always difficult and complicated, but the right Kingston divorce attorney will make your divorce proceeding as straightforward and simple as possible while protecting your rights and looking out for your best long-term interests.

What are the requirements for getting a divorce in Tennessee? Do you need to have a specific reason to seek a divorce in this state? When should you retain the advice and services of a Kingston divorce lawyer, and exactly what will that lawyer do on your behalf?

If you will continue to read this short discussion of divorce, the grounds for divorce, and your rights in a divorce proceeding in the State of Tennessee, you will find the answers that you may need to these questions now or in the future.

What Does Tennessee Require for a Divorce?

In order to divorce in Tennessee, at least one spouse must have lived in this state for at least six months, or the acts that constitute grounds for divorce must have taken place in Tennessee. These rules prevent those with little or no connection to Tennessee from seeking a divorce here.

However, Tennessee law provides an exception to these rules when one spouse is a domestic violence victim. Even if neither spouse has lived here for the required six months, an abused spouse who relocates to Tennessee may seek a divorce immediately, without any waiting period.

How Do You Begin the Divorce Process?

To initiate the divorce process, you have to submit a divorce petition to the court. Your petition will request the divorce and will also state your reasons for seeking the divorce. Your divorce attorney will prepare the legal paperwork for you and file that paperwork with the court.

If the spouses have minor children, a divorce can’t be granted for at least ninety days after the divorce papers are filed. If the spouses have no minor children, a divorce can be granted in sixty days – if the divorce is uncontested. Of course, contested divorces are longer and costlier.

What is Required for a No-Fault Divorce?

As mentioned previously, getting a divorce is always difficult and complicated, but in Tennessee, the legal requirements and the first steps are relatively simple and straightforward. Your divorce lawyer will handle all of the paperwork, motions, details, and filings on your behalf.

The law in Tennessee recognizes no-fault divorces – based on irreconcilable differences – as well as at-fault grounds for divorce. In a no-fault divorce, “irreconcilable differences” simply means that the spouses no longer get along with one another and that reconciliation is not possible.

Neither spouse has to claim or prove wrongdoing by the other spouse or point to any specific misconduct as the reason for a no-fault divorce. However, along with irreconcilable differences, separation may also be cited as a reason for a no-fault divorce if the spouses:

  1.  have resided separately for two years or longer
  2.  haven’t cohabited as a married couple for two years or longer
  3.  are not the parents of minor children

What Grounds for an At-Fault Divorce Are Recognized in Tennessee?

However, if one spouse objects to getting a divorce or refuses to compromise on matters such as alimony or child custody, a divorce trial must then be conducted, and the spouse who is seeking the divorce may have to prove grounds at trial.

On the other hand, a spouse may choose to file for a divorce that is fault-based (and for a divorce trial) from the start of the process, meaning that the spouse who requests the divorce is specifically claiming that the other’s misconduct is the reason he or she is seeking the divorce.

Before you make any of these choices, discuss your options with your divorce attorney. It’s almost always best to heed your attorney’s advice. The exact fault grounds for a divorce in this state include but aren’t limited to:

  1.  adultery, bigamy, or impotence
  2.  malicious or willful desertion for at least one year
  3.  a conviction for a felony, followed by a prison sentence
  4.  inhumane or cruel treatment or attempting to murder the other spouse
  5.  drug or alcohol abuse or addiction

How Does the Divorce Process Work in Tennessee?

Even if a divorce petition alleges fault, that doesn’t mean the fault or grounds for the divorce will become central to the divorce process. When the spouses can agree on the terms of a divorce and settlement, in most cases in Tennessee, a divorce will be granted for irreconcilable differences.

But if the issues in the divorce cannot be privately settled when the attorneys for both sides meet and negotiate outside of the courtroom, a divorce trial will take place, and inappropriate marital conduct or other grounds for divorce may become an issue in a contested divorce proceeding.

How Will Your Divorce Attorney Help You?

If you are divorcing in or near the Kingston area, a Kingston divorce lawyer can address your concerns and answer your questions about grounds for divorce and related family law topics such as child custody, child support, alimony, and the division of marital property and assets.

Do not even consider trying to act as your own divorce attorney. A divorce will substantially impact your finances and possibly change your lifestyle, so any mistake that you make could be catastrophic. The divorce laws in this state are complicated, and too much will be at risk.

Instead, when you divorce, you must have reliable legal advice from the beginning, because the decisions you make in the divorce process will affect you – and your children, if you are a parent – for the rest of your lives. But how can you know that you’re choosing the right divorce lawyer?

About Davis Legal Team

At Davis Legal Team, award-winning Kingston divorce attorney Tyler Davis heads up a team of divorce lawyers who will ensure that you’re treated fairly and justly in your divorce proceeding. We handle every aspect of your divorce and offer sound legal advice throughout the process.

All of your questions and concerns about your divorce will be addressed by one of our attorneys. When the marital assets are divided, we will make sure that you get to keep what is rightfully and legally yours, and if you qualify for child support or alimony, we’ll see that you get it.

To learn more about any matter of family law, to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation, or to begin the divorce process, contact the Kingston or Crossville offices of Davis Legal Team by promptly calling 865-354-3333 and putting our team, our commitment, and our experience to work for you.