Tennessee Grounds for Divorce

Although marriage is a legally binding commitment, Tennessee law recognizes that not all marriages work out, and there are ways to end the marriage. However, before you can divorce, you must have legal grounds for doing so.

Tennessee law provides 15 different grounds for divorce. The court must find that at least one of these 15 grounds is met before a divorce will be granted. 

Uncontested Divorces

Two of the 15 grounds for divorce fall into the uncontested divorce category. Generally, the court may grant a divorce without a trial if one of the following two things is true:

  • The spouses agree that there are irreconcilable differences. In other words, both spouses must agree to the divorce and claim they can’t get along as a married couple, and there is no chance of reconciliation. Neither spouse has to prove any wrongdoing by the other spouse or make any specific claim about why the marriage is ending.
  • The spouses have been separated for at least two years. If you have continuously lived in separate residences for at least two years, you have not cohabitated as husband and wife for at least two years, and you have no minor children, you may seek an uncontested divorce.

Uncontested divorces are typically more straightforward and less expensive than contested divorces. However, sometimes a contested divorce is necessary to end a marriage.

Grounds for Contested Divorces

If you are getting divorced for reasons other than irreconcilable differences or after a two-year separation, you will need to pursue a contested divorce. Tennessee recognizes the following reasons for a contested divorce:

  • When the marriage started, either party was and still is naturally impotent or sterile.
  • Either spouse knowingly entered a second marriage while still married.
  • Either spouse committed adultery.
  • Either spouse willfully or maliciously deserted the other spouse, without reasonable cause, for at least one year.
  • Either spouse was convicted of a crime that according to Tennessee law makes that spouse infamous.
  • Either spouse was convicted of a crime that according to Tennessee law is a felony, and that spouse was sentenced to time in the penitentiary.
  • Either spouse has attempted to kill the other spouse by poison or in any other way showing malice.
  • One spouse, without reasonable cause, refused to move to Tennessee with the other spouse. That spouse must have been willfully absent from the spouse who lives in Tennessee for at least two years.
  • At the time of the marriage, the woman was pregnant by someone other than her husband, and her husband did not know it.
  • Habitual drunkenness or abuse of narcotics of either spouse, if the spouse started the habit of drinking or drug use after the marriage began.
  • Either spouse is guilty of cruel and inhuman treatment or conduct toward the other spouse that makes living together unsafe and improper. This may be referred to as inappropriate marital conduct.
  • Either spouse has humiliated the other spouse in such a way that the other spouse’s position is intolerable or has forced the other spouse to withdraw.
  • Either spouse has abandoned the other spouse or turned the other spouse outdoors for no just cause and has refused or neglected to provide for the spouse despite the ability to do so.

Why You Need a Divorce Attorney

Whether you are seeking an uncontested or a contested divorce, you need a lawyer to represent your interests. Luna Law Firm can make sure that:

  • You state valid grounds for divorce
  • You have the evidence to support your grounds for divorce if the divorce is contested
  • Your property rights and financial future are protected
  • Any custody agreements are worked out in the best interest of your children
  • The appropriate child support is established

To learn more, please contact us to discuss your legal options.