Divorce papers in Tennessee — filing for divorce in TN

Online divorce in Tennessee

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How to get divorce in Tennessee

The information below will help the interested person understand more about the divorce in Tennessee.

The common steps of how to get divorce in Tennessee:


Divorce is a legal process which is based on state law, therefore, in order to get a divorce in a Tennessee marriage should be legal, in other words, the Tennessee law recognizes that it has a right to exist.


The interested person must comply with the living conditions, and also must have a reason for which he or she want to terminate the marriage.


If the client do not have common children and common property, and they both want to get a divorce, then the interested person have the right to apply for a more accelerated form of marriage dissolution, to save the time and nerves. Such a divorce is called uncontested. If the interested person have a common underage children or private property, he or she still have the right to an accelerated form of divorce, in case the interested person and the spouse have resolved all the controversial issues regarding the divorce and formed an agreement documentarily. If there is at least one unresolved issue between the spouses, the divorce will be contested and may be delayed for a long period, as the interested person will have to go through a series of court sessions where the judge will decide on the disputes.


To start a divorce, the interested person need to fill out the divorce form documents.


When the Tennessee divorce papers are ready, they need to be filed with the court. If the interested person submit papers without the participation of a spouse, he or she will still need to send a copies to him or her. When the spouse receives copies of the papers, the court will set the date of the first hearing, the minimum waiting period is 60 days.


You can file for a divorce in Tennessee in case if the actions that led to the desire to terminate the marriage were committed while the Plaintiff (the spouse who is suing) was a bona fide resident of the state.

If the actions that led to the desire to terminate the marriage were committed outside the state, and the Plaintiff was a resident of the other state, then in order to file a claim in Tennessee, either the Plaintiff , or the Respondent (the spouse who does not file lawsuit) must reside in the Tennessee for at least 6 months prior to filing a lawsuit.

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Valid grounds to get divorce in Tennessee

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In the state of Tennessee there are two main types of divorce: it is fault divorce and no-fault one. In order to obtain a divorce on the basis of fault grounds, one of the spouses was to be guilty of one of the following:




At the time of marriage and up to the present time, one of the spouses is impotent or barren;


Willful or malicious desertion or absence of either party, without reasonable cause for one year;


If the spouse has committed a crime for which he or she received punishment;


At the time of marriage, the wife was pregnant with another man, and the husband did not know about it;


Abuse of alcohol or drugs or addiction;


Refusal, on the part of one party, to move with his or her spouse to Tennessee, without reasonable cause, and being willfully absent from the spouse residing in Tennessee for two years;


One of the spouses shows such violence or harsh actions, which makes cohabitation of the spouses unsafe;


One of the spouses has inflicted on his or her partner so much humiliation, which is hard to survive, than forced him or her to leave;


One of the spouses abandoned his or her spouse or turned the spouse out of doors for no good cause, and has been denied or denied to provide for the spouse while having the ability to do so;

The facts of the fault of spouse in court should be proven. The court must still hear the facts of illegal actions on the part of the Respondent, after which the judge either rejects the Petition or grant a divorce.
In the Tennessee the interested person needs only indicate one of the reasons, which include:

  • Irreconcilable differences. However, a divorce for this reason can be obtained on the condition that the spouses have a written agreement on how the custody of minor children (if any) will be divided and the decision regarding the division of common property. 
  • If the spouses voluntarily resided separately and did not live as a husband and wife for at least 2 years and the couple does not have underage children.

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Custody of the child in Tennessee

Custody of the child

If a couple is going through a divorce in Tennessee and the spouses have children of minor age, the court is required to distribute custody rights between the parents. In making its decision, the court is always guided by the best interests of the child. Thus, custody can be divided between parents or be awarded to one parent, depending on what is best for the child.

There is also a presumption that the court will not give custody to the parent who was convicted of a crime against a child under the age of 18 until the court finds clear evidence to the contrary.

The court will indicate what time a child can spend with each of the parents. The decree will include the spouse's places of residence and the days in which the child can visit them. If the court sees evidence that one of the parent voluntarily refused to educate his or her minor child, the hours of visiting such a parent will be significantly curtailed.

Rules for child support in Tennessee

The court has the right to oblige parents to provide financial support to their underage children. The support of children is regulated by the Income Shares Model, which takes into account such parameters as the gross income of parents and the number of underage children for whom support size is set. After that, the total amount is distributed among the parents proportionally depending on their income level and custofy rights.

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Rules for spousal support in Tennessee

Rules for spousal support

If you are applying for a divorce, then note that the court can oblige one of the spouses to pay alimony (marital support) in favor of a second partner. State law has the following basic types of alimony:

  • Rehabilitative alimony - is aimed at supporting a spouse who is in a difficult economic situation, so that the spouse-recipient could get a job with a level of profitability that will help him or her to get back on their feet.
  • Alimony in futuro - payment of alimony for a long-term period, until the death of one of the spouses or until the spouse-recipient remarries. Can be paid together with rehabilitation support;
  • Transitional alimony - payment of maintenance for a certain period of time, when court considers that the spouse-recipient does not need rehabilitation support, but he or she still has some difficult economic situation;
  • Alimony in solido or lump sum alimony - a long-term type of support, which is obtained before the date established by the court. Such alimony can be paid in installments, as well as paired with any of the above kind of support;

When the court considers the issue of maintenance, it must take into account all the factors that affect the economic situation of the spouses.

Property division in Tennessee

Property division

The grounds that led to the divorce are not taken into account. The division is subject to all property (means ‘common property’) that was acquired by the spouses during the marriage, until the date of the final hearing of the divorce.

The common property includes all tangible and intangible property that was acquired by the husband or wife during the marriage and until the last hearing of the divorce, and also belonged to the husband or wife on the day of filing a complaint with the court.

If the spouses have a separate property, it remains with the original owner after the divorce. Separate property is property acquired in exchange for other property acquired before the marriage; property received by the spouses as a gift or inheritance, regardless of the date of the marriage; property acquired prior to marriage, provided that the second spouse did not make his or hers own vest to increase the value of this property; property acquired after the entry into force of a decree for divorce.

Divorce without a lawyer in Tennessee

It is possible to get a divorce without a lawyer. Cases when a divorce is made without the participation of a lawyer are called Pro Se Divorce, it is a Latin expression that translates as "on her or his own". Depending on which county the interested person lives, the process of divorce in the state of Tennessee can vary.

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Divorce forms in Tennessee

The most common divorce form documents of the state are ‘Request for Divorce’, ‘Spouses' Personal Information’, ‘Final Decree of Divorce’ and ‘Court Order for Divorcing Spouses’. If you and your spouse have an agreement on how to share a common property, then you also have to fill out the ‘Divorce Agreement’.

Uncontested divorce in Tennessee

Uncontested divorce in Tennessee

In order to get an uncontested divorce in Tennessee, the couple should want to dissolve the marriage, and also resolve their differences before filing a lawsuit. In order to obtain an uncontested divorce, the interested person must meet the following conditions:

  • The interested person and the spouse both want to get a divorce;
  • They must have no-fault grounds for divorce, which include:
    - Irreconcilable differences, or:
    - If the spouses voluntarily resided separately and did not live for at least 2 years. But this reason is the basis for a divorce, only if the couple does not have minor children.
  • The interested person or his or her spouse lived in Tennessee for the last 6 months before the petition was filed with the court;
  • The interested person and the spouse have no common minor children. If the interested person has common minor children, then he or she must draw up a written agreement on how the custody will be divided, visiting hours, as well as the amount of financial support for children. Both spouses should agree with all the statements that are in the contract.
  • The interested person or his or her spouse are not business owners, they do not have a common property or pension payments. If the interested person own something of the above, he or she should discuss and draw up a written agreement on how the interested person want to divide the assets and liabilities after the divorce.
  • If one of the spouses is applying for alimony, then the interested person also need to have a written agreement on the amount and payment period.

Please note that all your written agreements must be submitted to court along with the Tennessee divorce papers. If you do not agree with any of the key points of your divorce, it will be considered contested and the court will decide on your disputes, this in turn can significantly delay the process of marriage dissolution.

The interested party can attend to filling out the divorce form documents. He or she will need to fill out the following key divorce documents: ‘Petition for Divorce’, ‘Spouse's Personal Information’, ‘Health Insurance Notice’, ‘Divorce Agreement’, ‘Final Decree of Divorce’, and ‘Notice of Hearing’.
After the interested person filed for an uncontested divorce in Tennessee, he or she need to wait 60 days if the interested person do not have any minor children before the court set a date for the hearing. If the interested person have underage children, the waiting period will be increased to 95 days. If the documents are filed correctly, the court will set the date of the final hearing where the interested person’s spouse must be present as well, during which the court will grant a divorce.

How to serve divorce papers in Tennessee

In order for the court to start proceedings on the case, the interested person need to transfer copies of the divorce form documents that the registered in the court to the spouse so that he or she has the opportunity to review them and, if necessary, file a retaliatory complaint. This is also called the process of serving a spouse. The interested person can serve documents in two allowed ways:

  • Through the office of the sheriff. The interested person applies, he or she pay for the service and the Deputy Sheriff will try to contact the spouse. Keep in mind that the Deputy Sheriff makes only 1 attempt. 
  • Using the private process server. This is a more expensive way, however there will be several attempts made to contact the spouse. 

If the interested person file documents for an uncontested divorce, then he or she do not need to serve as a spouse, since the interested person submit all the Tennessee divorce papers together with a written agreement.
After the interested person serve a spouse, he or she need to wait 60 days before they can go to court to find out the status of the divorce.

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Filing fees for divorce in Tennessee

Total fees will contain sum of Tennessee court filing fees and cost of using the service of online divorce in Tennessee. This cost may vary by county. Please check with your local court officer to determine the exact amount.