Divorce Basics

When a couple can no longer get along, separation may be their only option and divorce may be the only thing left on which they can agree. If a couple can no longer be married they should consider divorcing in the least expensive and traumatic way possible for both themselves and their children. Unfortunately many divorcing couples may never be able to agree and as a result there are still contested, high conflict divorces.

No matter which path to divorce the couple opts for, all divorces start with the same legal documents. First, a Complaint for Divorce is filed with the court in the appropriate jurisdiction and venue. In the Complaint, the person filing, or the plaintiff, asks for a divorce and states the reasons, or grounds, upon which the divorce should be granted. The Complaint also explains what assets, property, and debts the parties must divide and whether the couple has minor children.

Grounds for Divorce

Whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, there must be grounds for divorce. The ground upon which an uncontested divorce may be granted is “irreconcilable differences” and neither party has to prove that there are grounds for divorce. In a contested divorce there are many other possible grounds for divorce and the party seeking the divorce must prove one or more grounds for divorce. Some of the grounds for divorce are:

  • Adultery
  • Inappropriate marital conduct that renders further cohabitation unsafe and improper
  • Either party, at the time of the marriage and without the knowledge of the other, was and still is naturally impotent and incapable of procreation
  • Being convicted of a felony, under the laws of Tennessee, and sentenced to confinement in the penitentiary
  • Bigamy
  • Domestic violence

There are many other grounds for divorce under Tennessee law. If you are contemplating a divorce, you should seek the advice of an experienced attorney to help you determine which grounds for divorce may apply in your case.

Waiting Period

Tennessee law imposes a minimum statutory waiting period upon all divorces. If the parties do not have children, they must wait sixty (60) days from the date of the filing of the Complaint for Divorce. If the parties have minor children, under the age of eighteen (18) they must wait ninety (90) days from the date of filing.

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