The first thing you need to know is that most divorces in Tennessee are actually uncontested, meaning that both spouses have come to an agreement on the terms of their divorce. This can include things like child custody arrangements, alimony payments, and division of property.
However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t still plenty of contested divorces – where one or both spouses cannot agree on key issues related to their split. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to have an experienced attorney on your side who can help you protect your interests and fight for the best possible outcome, including keeping your divorce case out of the trial, if possible, protecting your financial interests, maximizing your parenting time with the children if there are minor children of the marriage, and also helping guide you and plan for your post-divorce life. The great news for most people is that only 5% of all divorces actually go all the way to trial. This does not mean that there is no court appearance at all, often there may be temporary hearings to establish alimony, support, who gets exclusive possession of the marital residence while the divorce case is pending, who gets custody of the children while the divorce case is pending, if your Spouse is dissipating assets while the divorce case is pending, there may be hearings addressing that, establishing child support for the children while the divorce case is pending, among other types hearings while the divorce case is pending.
If an agreement is not reached by the joint efforts of the parties and their respective counsel, you must attend mediation prior to being entitled to a trial, and in Nashville, if an agreement is not reached at mediation, you will be required to attend a Judicial Settlement Conference prior to going to trial.
What are the Grounds for Divorce in TN?
In Tennessee, for a contested divorce, you must provide evidence as to why divorce is needed. Fault grounds for a divorce in Tennessee include, but aren’t limited to:
- Willful or malicious desertion or absence of either party, without a reasonable cause, for one (1) whole year;
- Conviction of a crime, including a felony;
if your Spouse tried to murder your or solicit someone to have you murdered;
if your Spouse was impotent or barren at the time of the marriage;
if your Spouse refuses to move with you to the State of Tennessee, without a reasonable cause and has been willfully absent from you for two (2) years;
Your Spouse abandoned you or turned you out of the marital residence for no good reason, or your Spouse has refused to provide for you while having the ability to provide for you;
- Habitual drunkenness or substance abuse that arose after the marriage to your Spouse
Cruet Treatment, also known as inappropriate marital conduct; or
For at least two (2) consecutive years, you and your spouse have been living in separate residences, you have not cohabited with your Spouse as married partners during that period and there are no minor children of the marriage