After you’ve made the difficult decision to divorce your spouse, you must take some specific steps before divorce proceedings can officially begin in the courts. Complete this three-step process in order to successfully file for divorce in Tennessee.

Step One: Determine the Type of Divorce You Need

Most states only offer no-fault divorces, but in Tennessee there are two kinds of divorce available, agreed or no-fault and contested or fault-based divorce. The state of Tennessee only grants a divorce under specific circumstances with those for an agreed divorce being most restrictive.

A no-fault divorce will only be granted to a couple who mutually agree to end their marriage in the state of Tennessee. The reasons for getting an agreed divorce must be either irreconcilable differences or the couple having lived apart for two years with no minor children. Otherwise known as an uncontested divorce, you can learn more details about these divorces here.

A contested divorce is more difficult to obtain. The state of Tennessee has a limited list of acceptable reasons for filing for divorce without agreement between spouses that includes Adultery, Inappropriate Marital Conduct, Abandonment, Habitual Drunkenness or Abuse of Narcotic Drugs, Irreconcilable Differences, and a few other factors.

Step Two: Meet Tennessee’s Divorce Requirements

Once you determine the divorce type needed, you must consider whether you meet the requirements to file in Tennessee. Those include:

  • Your reason must align with one of the accepted grounds for divorce (agreed or contested).
  • Prior to filing for divorce, one or both spouses must live in Tennessee for the six months prior to divorce filing. Or you both lived in Tennessee when you decided to divorce.

It’s important to note that you do not have to have an official separation to file for divorce in Tennessee. This is different from some other states.

Step Three: Complete and File the Paperwork

You must fill out a few different forms, as required by the state of Tennessee. This divorce paperwork may include all of some of the following:

  • Complaint for Divorce
  • Summon
  • Spouses’ personal information form
  • Any other form required by your local court.

Divorcing Tennessee couples find the required paperwork simple to complete, if there is a mutual agreement.  To get this no-fault divorce they only need to file the notarized complaint document and spousal information packet with their local Court Clerk. This option exists only for those without minor children. More information about the process and those forms can be found here.

You must still appear before a judge and wait 60 days. But if all the paperwork is found to be in order, the waiting is the hardest part.

A Contested Divorce requires some of the same basic paperwork but after that things get complicated quickly. From serving a summons to working out a parenting plan with your spouse, there are a lot of requirements to meet. And you’ll find many obstacles to trip you up.  You can learn more about the divorce process here, but it’s in your best interest to contact a divorce lawyer to help you through the process.

The attorneys with McKeehan Law Group have many years of experience in divorce law and offer a free consultation. Contact us today for more information online or call (865)294-8008.