Divorce Laws in TN, Tennessee – Attorneys & Family Lawyers


Divorce laws in TN state that you must be a resident of Tennessee no less than six months prior to filing for divorce. In Tennessee, if you request the court for divorce you have both no-fault and fault grounds upon which the court shall grant divorce, after considering certain facts. The waiting period for a divorce in Tennessee is 60 days if no minor children are involved, otherwise 90 days.

Tennessee has relatively high divorce rate of 4.9% per 1,000 of the total population. This rate is quite high compared to the US median point.

Annulment is rare in Tennessee, because it is granted only in exceptional circumstances i.e. in case of bigamy or incase one or both of the partners are under the age of 18. Although it is rare but if granted legally or religiously, both the parties are free to remarry.

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For any complexities in the divorce process, divorce lawyers in your state should be referred for dissolution. They are available to guide you towards the lawful ending of the marriage relationship.

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Divorce Grounds in Tennessee

Divorce grounds in Tennessee are divided into:

No-Fault Divorce Grounds in Tennessee

Following are the no-fault divorce grounds in Tennessee:

Irreconcilable Differences

To make a marriage successful, all the conflicts and differences must be reconciled. In case both of the partners have irreconcilable differences, they can obtain divorce under this divorce ground in Tennessee.

Separation Without Cohabitation for Two Years without Minor Children

If you and your spouse have no minor children and are living separately for two years without any cohabitation, both of you are entitled to petition for divorce under this no-fault divorce ground in Tennessee.

Fault Divorce Grounds in Tennessee

Fault divorce grounds in Tennessee are:


Impotence is “an inability to copulate”. If your spouse is unable to copulate and you do not want to continue with the relationship, you can obtain divorce under this divorce ground in Tennessee.


On this divorce ground in Tennessee, you can lawfully file a petition for divorce if your spouse is having an extramarital affair and having illicit relations with his or her paramour.


If your spouse has committed a crime and as a result has been imprisoned, you can divorce him or her under this divorce ground in Tennessee.

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Alcoholism or Drug Addiction

If a husband or wife is involved in habitual intoxication of drugs or liquor i.e. opium, cocaine or morphine, you can declare a divorce on this divorce ground in Tennessee.

Willful Desertion

Willful desertion by your spouse for one year or more, provides you with a legitimate divorce ground in Tennessee.

Endangering the Spouse’s Wellbeing

You can petition for a divorce decree if your spouse is being a threat to your wellbeing. However to obtain divorce under this divorce ground in Tennessee, the petitioner has to provide tangible proof testifying the respondent’s threatening behaviour.

Pregnancy Before Marriage

A wife’s pregnancy by another man is a valid divorce ground in Tennessee. A husband can file for a divorce decree under this fault ground for divorce.


If your spouse is already married and s/he has married you without your knowing about his or her marriage, your marriage will be considered null and void. You can either file for a divorce decree or annulment under this divorce ground in Tennessee.

Contact a professional divorce attorney or divorce lawyer for detailed information regarding divorce grounds in Tennessee.

Is there recognised legal separation in TN?

Yes, Tennessee recognises legal separation (also known as “divorce from bed and board”). The process is very similar to that of divorce however the couple remain married and maintain any benefits of marriage they may have such as health insurance, tax benefits and separation of responsibility for your spouse. Legal separation in TN is different from divorce in TN because you remain married and thus cannot re-marry. The process for legal separation in Tennessee is similar to divorce in that you will need to draw up an agreement on assets, liabilities, responsibilities, child custody etc. This separation agreement will be legally binding.

Tennessee Divorce Laws

Tennessee has following divorce laws:


According to Tennessee divorce laws, the partner filing for the divorce should be a resident of the state at the time the grounds for divorce took place and if the grounds took place outside Tennessee then one of the spouses should have been a resident of Tennessee for at least 6 months.

Documents Required for Filing Divorce

Two essential documents required to file for divorce according to the Tennessee divorce laws are:

  • Petition for Divorce
  • Final Decree of Divorce

Distribution of Property

The distribution of the marital property, according to Tennessee divorce laws, is based on the equitable basis and the division is made between the separate property and marital property.

Change of Name or Restoration of Name

In Tennessee divorce laws there is no statutory provision that the female spouse should restore her name upon divorce. However, she may use her former or maiden name.

Mediation Counseling

The court may order mediation counseling and delay the process of dissolution, if either of the spouses request for some time for reconciliation especially when minors are involved.


Under Tennessee divorce laws, court provides alimony on permanent or temporary bases. Spousal support may take the form of lump sum, periodic, or rehabilitative support. Tennessee encourages rehabilitative support. But, if other spouse still needs some assistance, the court may grant long-term alimony until the death or remarriage of the supported spouse.

Child Custody

Child custody is a serious issue during dissolution of a marriage. Tennessee divorce courts do their best to decide who should receive the child especially when minors are involved. The divorce court considers every aspect to protect the child from the emotional trauma and considers factors such as the bonding of the child with the parents, stability of family unit etc.

Child Support

Under Tennessee divorce laws, this is calculated according to the Income Shares Model for child support.

Contact a professional divorce attorney or divorce lawyer for comprehensive divorce laws information in your state.

Tennessee Annulment Laws

Annulment is a process in which the court declares that the parties were never legally married and thus the marriage is declared void or null. As compared to divorce, annulment is relatively difficult to obtain. Following are the Tennessee annulment grounds constituted by the Tennessee annulment laws:

Existence of a Prior Marriage

Tennessee annulment laws clearly state that both the spouses must be single at the time of the marriage. If a married person enters into another marriage without giving divorce to the first spouse, claim for annulment becomes legal under Tennessee annulment laws.


If you have entered into restricted degrees of kinship i.e. have had sexual or marital relations with your natural parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, stepparent, stepchild, adoptive parent, adoptive child, brother, half brother sister, half sister, adopted brother, or adopted sister then it is incest. It is a valid ground for annulment under Tennessee annulment laws.

Incurable Insanity

If your spouse has incurable insanity, you can obtain annulment according to Tennessee annulment laws.


Marriages made under duress or force can be annulled under Tennessee annulment laws.


Fraud is anything done by misrepresentation or by cheating someone. If your spouse has gained your assent by fraud, you can obtain annulment in Tennessee.

Underage Marriage

According to Tennessee annulment laws annulment will be legal, if a person under the marriageable age, stated in Tennessee marriage laws, enters into marriage without the consent of the parents or the court.


If your spouse is impotent and this is affecting your marital relationship, you can get annulment according to Tennessee annulment laws.

Pregnancy by Another Man

If your wife has gotten pregnant by another man you can obtain annulment under Tennessee annulment laws. However to get annulment on this ground, you have to provide a substantial proof testifying your claim.

Tennessee Divorce Laws-Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is meant by legal divorce?

    Divorce or dissolution of a marriage is the name given to ending up of a marriage. If the court declares a divorce legal then it will be a legal divorce. The court gives each individual legal rights in case of assets, liabilities and child custody.

  2. Can I file my own divorce papers in TN?

    Yes, you can get free and approved forms to file here, however professional advice is recommended.

  3. What is legal separation?

    Legal separation is a court order declaring that the spouses are not living together and have settled down all the issues related to the property and custody. The only difference between divorce and separation is that in separation both the spouses remains married, while divorce is the termination of marriage.

  4. Where should I file a divorce if I have left the marital home and moved to another state?

    According to Tennessee divorce laws, one spouse must be living in the state to claim a Tennessee divorce. You can also file a divorce in the state where you and your spouse last lived together.

  5. Can I really change my last name during the divorce process?

    Yes you can. According to Tennessee divorce laws, the only restriction about changing the name is that a person cannot change the name only for committing a fraud.

  6. How much time a Tennessee divorce will take?

    After filing an uncontested Tennessee divorce it might take about 2-6 months including 60 days cooling-off period, if there are no children involved. In case of children it takes 90 days to get divorced.

  7. What are the complications and how much will they cost?

    If your spouse has moved out to another state and started living there, then you have to serve divorce papers to your spouse out of state. Serving of divorce papers means giving official divorce notice. Serving of papers might be expensive depending on the sheriff charges which are usually $7Publishing a notice in the newspaper might be more costly.

  8. I have lost my job and can’t afford a divorce lawyer, can I represent myself?

    Yes, you can represent yourself in the court, but it will be better for you to hire a divorce lawyer.

  9. Is child support amount changeable?

    After the fixation of the amount for child support by the court, it can be modified under certain circumstances. According to Tennessee divorce laws, you have to file a petition for modification.

  10. How will the court decide child custody issue. Is there any law constituted for that?

    Yes, Tennessee divorce laws have a law constituted expressly for handling child custody issue.If the spouses do not agree upon the child custody issue, then the court will consider the best interest of child and other related issues and declares the custody either jointly or solely.

  11. What is alimony?

    Alimony is the amount paid by one spouse to another to meet financial requirements.

  12. What is the time period for alimony?

    The spousal support may be either for lifetime or for a specified period.

  13. Me and my spouse want to hire the same divorce lawyer, can we?

    No, it isn’t possible because according to the Tennessee divorce laws, one divorce lawyer cannot represent two people at the same time in the court.

  14. How much the court charges for a Tennessee divorce?

    The court charges $250-$400 for a Tennessee uncontested divorce.

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