Tennessee Divorce FAQ
Divorce in Tennessee - Frequently Asked Questions The following section provides general information on the various administrative and procedural parts of divorce, custody, support, visitation, and settling the marital estate - property division . There usually is an exception to every answer in this guide. Therefore, the need for an experienced attorney to evaluate your specific situation is a must .
Who can file for divorce in Tennessee?
Tennessee law requires that the court must have jurisdiction over the parties in order to file for divorce within the state. The spouse filing for divorce must be a resident when the grounds for divorce arose. If the grounds for divorce arose outside Tennessee, at least one of the spouses must have been a Tennessee resident for 6 months prior to filing. Divorce may be filed in any of the following counties:the county in which both spouses lived at the time of their separation the county in which the defendant lives if she / he is a resident of Tennessee the county in which the plaintiff lives if the defendant is a non-resident of Tennessee.
Are there different grounds for divorce in Tennessee?
There are many different grounds on which a divorce can be filed in Tennessee.Tenn. Code Annotated
1) No Fault in Tennessee Irreconcilable differences;
2) Fault Based Grounds for Divorce in Tennessee
conviction of a felony and imprisonment;
alcoholism and/or drug addiction;
wife is pregnant by another at the time of marriage - without husband's knowledge;
willful desertion for 1 year;
endangering the life of the spouse;
commission and/or conviction of an infamous crime;
refusing to move to Tennessee with a spouse and willfully absenting oneself from a new residence for 2 years;
Living separate and apart for 2 years without cohabitation when there are no minor children.
How long does it take to get a divorce in Tennessee?
Uncontested divorces Tennessee have a 60 day waiting period, if there are no minor children, and 90 days if there are minor children of the parties from the date the divorce is filed, before the divorce can be final. Unfortunately, contested divorces can take as much more time to finish.
What is a legal separation?
This may be sought instead of a divorce and is awarded based upon the same grounds as a divorce. The agreement or court order resolves many of the same issues as in a divorce, but leaves the parties married. Note that after two years a divorce may be sought based upon the parties living apart. This action is seen by some as a way to try to save the marriage, it rarely works.
What is Service of Process?
Unless the defendant spouse signs an acknowledgment of service, (agreed divorce), he or she is entitled to legal 'service' i.e. notice that a divorce has been filed. Personal service may be by either a Sheriff or other person appointed by the court to make legal service. The Sheriff or process server actually hands the divorce papers to the defendant and completes a return of service stating that they did in fact personally deliver the divorce papers to the defendant. The Return of Service is then filed with the clerk as proof that the defendant was duly served. The defendant is not required to sign anything when they are served with divorce papers. They are entitled to notice. They are not required to sign anything or give their consent to a divorce.
Can a divorce be granted if the defendant's whereabouts are unknown?
If the filing spouse has made a "good faith effort" to locate the missing spouse, and can swear under oath and penalty of perjury that they do not know the current whereabouts of the defendant and have made an effort to locate them, the missing defendant can be "served" by publication of a notice in a local newspaper.
How is property divided in a Tennessee divorce?
Tennessee is an equitable distribution state, generally meaning that all marital property acquired during the marriage is subject to division. Property brought into the marriage that a person had before the marriage are generally not subject to division in a divorce.
How are marital debts divided in a Tennessee divorce?
Most divorcing spouses set out who will pay what debts as part of their marital settlement agreement during the divorce process, and close all of their joint accounts.
Does Tennessee have Alimony?
Tennessee has a specific statute setting out the guidelines used by Courts to determine alimony. Alimony may be awarded to either spouse for their support and maintenance after the divorce. It is generally based on the financial circumstances of the divorcing spouses. The needs of one spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay are the primary factors in determining alimony.Are there guidelines for custody of children in Tennessee?Yes. Tennessee has a specific statute setting out the guidelines used by Courts to determine by comparative analysis for initial custody determination.
How is Child Support determined in Tennessee?
Tennessee has guidelines for determining the amount of child support to be paid. The guideline amount is presumed to arrive at an amount of support that is in the child's best interest. Parents are generally NOT able to agree to pay child support below the guidelines.
What about medical insurance for the children?
The spouse paying child support is required to provide basic medical insurance for the parties children absent an agreement between the parties otherwise. Generally the parties equally pay the uncovered medical expenses. Medical insurance and payment for medical services is considered child support, payable by the non custodial parent.
How permanent are the provisions for child custody and support?
Orders providing for the support and custody of children is subject to modification after the divorce if there is a substantial change in the circumstances of the parties, such that the children have been exposed to some substantial risk by the custodial parent. The "children's best interest" is the standard used by the Court. A comparative analysis of the parties is made at the time of the divorce, so initial custody can be an insurmountable advantage.
What is a Parenting Plan?
The Tennessee legislature has passed legislation that requires parents to attempt to settle their differences in a divorce by the use of mediation and parenting plans where the parties attempt to agree as to where the children will stay and when.
What is a default divorce?
In a default divorce, only one spouse (the one filing the divorce) is required to sign the anything. One spouse files the divorce papers. The other spouse is then notified by being delivered a copy of the divorce papers by the Sheriff, other authorized process server, or by certified mail. The spouse being served with the divorce papers is not required to sign anything. All that is required is proof that they were notified - not their consent. You cannot force someone to stay married to you. However, in allowing a default divorce to be taken against you, you may be giving up life changing rights.
What if I don't know where my spouse is located?
If you don't know where your spouse can be found to be 'served' (notified), and you have made a good faith effort to locate them, you can still get your divorce. Missing spouses can be 'notified' by running a notice in a local newspaper. This requires the use of an attorney to assure success.
Tennessee Divorce Frequently Asked Questions
The Page provides general information on the various administrative and procedural parts of divorce, custody, support, visitation, and settling the marital estate - property division .
There usually is an exception to every answer in this guide.
Therefore, the need for an experienced divorce attorney to evaluate your specific situation is a must .
Additional Divorce Information
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