It will take a while to get a contested divorce in Tennessee due to waiting periods, the time needed to establish fault and the discovery, mediation and other portions of the trial that will inevitably occur while trying to end a marriage based on fault grounds. This is an expensive process, as you will be paying for the lawyer through the process, in addition to court fees and other related services. Some couples may want to avoid a contested divorce in Tennessee and instead opt for an uncontested divorce or a divorce on the grounds of the marriage being irreconcilable.
Should my spouse and I file for a divorce based on irreconcilable differences?
If the notion of a six month long (minimum) divorce trial where you must prove fault, sounds unappealing, then you should consider filing for dissolution of marriage, as the marriage is broken. You would have exhausted all options to make the marriage work and feel that it would be a better environment for you or children involved in the marriage to have a quick and non-combative divorce. You will have a 60 day waiting period for divorces based on irreconcilable differences without children and a 90 day period for divorces where the custody of minor children will be determined. You are expected in this time to work out differences and seek marital counseling.
Process of a contested divorce
After the petition to divorce is filed, the judge will make a determination on if the case may proceed. This may result in counseling or having the petition thrown out if it is on unsuitable grounds or fails to meet residency requirements. After a discovery phase where each wide determines what the other spouse is seeking, the case will proceed, either contested or uncontested until its conclusion.
Working with one lawyer
A lawyer cannot represent both parties in a divorce, but can and will offer to perform the legal paperwork needed for an uncontested divorce, if the spouses already agree on the terms of their separation. In some cases, the spouse may work with their lawyer to formulate a divorce agreement and then present that agreement to the spouse. This may be an effective approach as that agreement will be modified to the satisfaction of the other spouse. Once the agreement is finalized, both spouses may go to court, without the need of lawyers and have the divorce agreement certified into a legal divorce decree.
Grounds for divorce in Tennessee
You may file for a contested divorce in Tennessee and win if you prove any of the following
- Impotence: either spouse was incapable of procreation at the time of the marriage and remains so to present day.
- Habitual drunkenness or drug use
- Conviction of a felony with at least one year imprisonment
- Abandonment, without reasonable cause, for one year
- Adultery or polygamy
- Cruel or inhuman punishment
- Indignities imposed by one spouse on the other
- Attempts at poisoning