How to File for Divorce in Tennessee: A Step by Step Guide

Jan 07
How to File for Divorce in Tennessee

No one gets married thinking about how things are going to end poorly. Unfortunately, this is how many marriages still often end. Many marriages that happen legally in the U.S. do end in divorce.

If you’re looking into divorce as far as your own marriage goes, it’s important to understand how the process works. Divorce laws can vary greatly from state to state. If you live in Tennessee and want to end your marriage, it’s important to understand how the divorce process works within the state.

Do you know how to file for divorce in Tennessee? If you don’t but you need to know, read on. We’ll walk you through the essentials.

Initial Steps

If you want to get a divorce, there are a few steps you and your spouse will need to take. It’s important to do things by the book or else you can make the process even more difficult than it already is. There is paperwork that needs to be filed properly and actions that need to be taken by certain deadlines.

First and foremost, you will need to draw up a petition for divorce. You can obtain a template for this online or get one from a divorce attorney. On this petition, you must list out your grounds for divorce.

Grounds for divorce can vary wildly. Desertion, adultery, impotency, criminal activity, and many other reasons are considered proper grounds for divorce. Tennessee law also allows for what is known as a ‘no-fault’ divorce, which is when two partners end a marriage with no true grounds outside of irreconcilable differences. 

You must be a Tennessee resident for a minimum of six months before being able to file for divorce in the state of Tennessee. 

After that, you’ll need to come to an agreement with your spouse in how your assets will be split up.

All real estate and financial assets need to be divided and specified in detail. If you have children, an agreement in regards to their custody arrangement will also need to be decided upon. A child support plan needs to be decided on as well.

In some cases, this will be discussed prior between spouses. In other situations, a spouse might not know the divorce is coming. The individual making the petition will put their demands into the document and the other spouse will have an opportunity to respond via legal means.

Often, spouses will not be able to see eye to eye on these matters. In this situation, it becomes even more important to hire a divorce lawyer

Serving Papers and Next Steps

Once this is all in place, the official process can begin. You will need to serve the petition for divorce to your spouse. Once they’ve received the papers, they have thirty days to officially respond. 

Once a response has been filed, a clerk of court will schedule official mediation sessions for the spouses to attend. It’s at these mediation sessions that the two members of the marriage (and their lawyers) will try to come to see eye to eye about how the dissolution of the marriage will play out.

If children are involved in the case, spouses must wait a ninety-day waiting period before they can begin the mediation session. If children are not involved, only a sixty-day waiting period is required. 

It’s important that both spouses show up for all scheduled sessions and file all their paperwork by the appropriate deadlines. Failure to do so could have the courts default to the other spouse without any due process.

A Final Divorce Order

An official divorce hearing will also occur with a judge present. The judge will ask many questions about the marriage and about each spouse in question. He will look over the petition and the terms that the couple has come to agree on. 

The judge will decree a Final Divorce Order which will lay out the expected agreement for the soon to be former spouses to adhere to. Once this final divorce order is issued, the spouses have thirty days in which they can attempt to appeal the decision.

After this thirty-day window has passed, the order will become the letter of the law. For this reason, spouses must wait for this period to end before they can get re-married or buy new properties.

The clerk of the court will also be able to provide a Divorce Certificate that the spouses can keep on hand. This is the official certification that the divorce has taken place. The clerk should also provide a case number file that will be the reference point for all future disputes which might occur in the years following the divorce.

This case number should be on top of all paperwork associated with the case for easy reference later on. You should make sure to not lose track of your certificate or your case number. 

The length of these divorce proceedings will vary from situation to situation but can last up to many months if couples don’t see eye to eye initially.

How To File For Divorce In Tennessee

Do you know how to file for divorce in Tennessee? If you’re looking to end your marriage in the state, the above information should provide the basis for what you need to know. Going through a divorce is never an easy process, but understanding the ins and outs of the process can make going through it just a little bit easier.

Need more family and relationship advice? Check out our blog for more information.