How to File For Divorce in Tennessee
Tennessee spouses seeking a divorce may want to learn more about the filing process. It is not especially difficult to file for divorce in Tennessee, but the state has some laws that you may want to know about before you file. This guide will explain those laws and how the divorce process will work.
1) Determine Your Eligibility
Whichever spouse files for divorce in Tennessee is required to be a resident of the state. If you are alleging that your spouse was at fault for the divorce and the misconduct took place in another state or country, one spouse must have lived in Tennessee for at least 6 months. You should file in the county where you reside or where your spouse does.
2) Fill Out and File Divorce Paperwork
The next step for spouses wishing to file for divorce in Tennessee is filing the divorce paperwork. This is called a complaint for divorce, and you will be required to file a written complaint in order to begin divorce proceedings in court. The complaint is a complex legal document, and you may wish to seek the advice of a lawyer before filing for divorce in Tennessee.
The complaint must include information about you and your spouse, including when and where you were married, and must also detail your reasons for your divorce. Most people use “no-fault” grounds, in which you are not alleging any misconduct on the part of your spouse. Very few divorces now use fault grounds, because they are often difficult to prove and only marginally improve divorce outcomes. Fault divorces typically take much longer (up to 2 years) and are substantially more expensive.
3) Serve Your Spouse with Papers
Once you file for divorce in Tennessee, your spouse needs to be notified that the papers have been filed. This notice can be done in several ways, but typically, you will hire the sheriff's office or a private process server to serve the paperwork to your spouse at his or her home or place of employment.
4) Waiting Period
There is a waiting period that applies to all divorces in the state. After you file for divorce in Tennessee, you will need to wait 60-90 days to have the divorce finalized, even if you settle with a divorce agreement. Most couples use this waiting period to negotiate their settlement agreement and have it approved by the court. Judges will generally accept any divorce agreement that has been agreed to freely by both parties.
5) Court Dates
If you and your spouse cannot settle, after you file for divorce in Tennessee and your spouse responds, you will have court dates set up for a pre-trial hearing and possibly a trial. The judge at the pre-trial hearing will determine whether you may be able to settle your differences, and may be able to tell you how he or she would rule at the trial. If you still cannot come to an agreement, a trial date will be set.