Filing for Divorce

Filing for a divorce in Tennessee can be extremely overwhelming. Individuals often feel angry, sad, and afraid of starting a new life without their spouse. Divorce often brings forth a variety of physical, emotional, and financial challenges. It is imperative that divorcing spouses work to protect all of their rights early on. The attorneys at Griffin & Davis, PLLC recognize the challenges that are ahead for each of our clients, which is why we work so hard to protect their rights throughout the entire process.

Grounds For Filing Divorce In Tennessee

When it comes to filing for divorce in Tennessee, individuals have the ability to file either an at fault or a no-fault divorce. Each filing option requires that certain criteria are met.

At-Fault Divorce: Individuals that file under this divorce category must prove one of eight categories matching the reason for their divorce. These include:

  • Adultery or bigamy
  • Impotence
  • Conviction of a felony leading to imprisonment
  • Conviction of an infamous crime
  • A type of substance addiction
  • Wife is pregnant by a man other than the husband
  • Abandonment or neglect
  • Willful desertion for over a year
  • Refusal to move to the state with a spouse for a period of over two years
  • Endangering the life of the spouse
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment
  • Indignities that make the spouse’s life intolerable, also known as inappropriate marital conduct

No-Fault Divorce: Individuals that file for a divorce under this category often do so by way of mutual agreement. These types of divorces are also known as uncontested divorces. In order to file for an uncontested divorce, or divorce based on irreconcilable differences, the divorce must meet certain criteria. No-fault divorce criteria include:

  • There is no denial of irreconcilable differences
  • The spouse submits a signed marital dissolution agreement
  • The ground is combined with a general fault-based ground
  • The parties must be living apart for a period of two or more years

As you can imagine, the process for an at-fault divorce takes longer. Whereas uncontested divorces can take less than six months from petition to decree, an at-fault divorce can take eighteen months or more. Working with an attorney from Griffin & Davis, PLLC will ensure your rights are protected throughout the duration of your divorce.

When The Divorce Involves Children

In cases where divorcing couples have children, they are required to establish both custody and visitation orders before the finalization of their divorce. Parents are encouraged to work on creating plans that work for all parties involved. When parents are unable to agree on where the children will live and when they will visit, a judge is required to make this determination for them.

Cases involving children are more complex than no-children divorces. In addition to filing for custody, parents must also file for child-support arrangements. Child support is financial compensation provided by one parent to the other for the support of the minor child. Parents can agree on an amount, or they can have a judge determine an adequate support order based on the living arrangements and the parties’ incomes.

Alimony In Divorces

The division of financial assets is often a heated topic in divorces. In cases where a divorce financially impacts one party to the divorce, they may be able to seek spousal support. Divorcing parties can ask for alimony awards in their divorce, which is awarded in addition to child support. Alimony is provided to an economically disadvantaged parent, so they can maintain a lifestyle similar to the one they had during their marriage. Alimony can be awarded in four ways:

  • A lump-sum alimony payment, also known as in solido
  • Permanent alimony payments, also known as in futuro
  • Rehabilitative alimony payments
  • Transitional alimony payments

A judge can award one or more types of alimony to a party during a divorce. Generally, lump-sum alimony is awarded to a party as a way to equalize the financial resources of each party. The amount awarded takes into consideration what each party acquires through the divorce.

Rehabilitative alimony can be awarded short-term as financial support for a spouse that is in school. This alimony ensures the spouse can continue their educational journey without any financial disruption resulting from the divorce.

Transitional alimony is awarded to help spouses that are negatively impacted by the divorce proceedings. This type of award is temporary and given to help bridge the financial gaps they experience until they are able to secure a job.

Finally, permanent alimony is sometimes awarded in cases where one spouse was financially dependent upon the other. In these cases, alimony is awarded until the recipient spouse remarries or either spouse dies.

It is imperative that you prove that you need these financial resources from the other spouse and that not having this financial resource available will have a serious and negative impact on your life. You must also prove that the obligator has the financial ability to pay alimony to you. Working with an experienced lawyer will help you obtain alimony through your divorce proceedings.  Call the skilled attorneys at Griffin & Davis, PLLC today to get started.  We have our clients’ best interests in mind at all times and work diligently to ensure that you get the best possible outcome in your divorce.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Filing For Divorce In Tennessee

Quite often, individuals filing for divorce are unsure of what to do. It is important to ask various questions early on to obtain as much information as possible. Some of the most common questions regarding filing for divorce are answered below.

How Do I File For Divorce?

To file for a divorce, you must choose a county, find the court clerk’s office, pay the filing fee, and file a complaint for divorce. This includes a summons and the spouses’ personal information form. Some courts require the filing of a cover sheet, a certificate of divorce, and various other forms. It is important that you consult with a Tennessee divorce attorney before you get started.

Where Do I File For Divorce?

Filing for divorce in Tennessee is dependent upon where you live. If you relocated to Tennessee, you must be a resident for a minimum of six months before you can file for a Tennessee divorce. Generally, you must file your divorce paperwork in a county where you and your spouse live. If you both live in different counties or states, file in the county where you live with the children.

How Do I Serve Divorce Papers?

Divorce forms must accomplish service of process in Tennessee. Service of Process means that all parties must be served properly and lawfully in order for them to be acceptable in court. The majority of cases can be served locally through the county’s Sheriff’s Department. Parties can utilize a private process server or, if your spouse signs an acknowledgment of service process, you can send the forms by mail.

A divorce is a lawsuit. Therefore, a notice of the legal action is required in order for the case to move forward. You must make a reasonable attempt to notify the party. If you are unable to locate your spouse for service, you must publish a public notice in the newspaper.

Although individuals are allowed to provide public notice of divorce where all other legal avenues have failed, they are not allowed to finalize financial aspects of the divorce in cases where public notice is given without a response. If you are having a difficult time serving your spouse, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced divorce attorney in Tennessee to make sure your legal rights are protected.  Call the legal team at Griffin & Davis, PLLC today to set up a consultation with one of our skilled family law attorneys.

What Is Determined In A Divorce Case?

Although every divorce case is different, they generally cover the same basic areas. These often include:

  • The division of marital assets
  • Child Custody / Visitation
  • Child Support
  • Alimony

The divorce process generally goes quicker when parties can come to an agreement on terms regarding all areas of the divorce. In divorces that parties cannot agree on, referred to as contested divorces, a judge will decide on the issues instead. It is important that you work with an experienced attorney throughout the divorce process to ensure you all areas of your divorce are considered and resolved in your best interest.

How Long Does A Divorce Take?

There is no way to predict how long a divorce case will take in Tennessee. Typically, it can last between two months and six months in a no-fault or uncontested divorce. In cases where parties are unable to agree on how to handle certain things, they must go in from of a judge. When a divorce has to go in front of a judge, it can take eighteen months or longer to finalize.

Hire An Attorney To Help With Your Divorce

At Griffin & Davis, PLLC, we treat every client with compassion and respect. Clients that work with us receive honest and in-depth advice regarding their divorce proceedings. We believe that every client we work with has a right to know all of their case’s details. Our attorneys have experience and skills to help individuals in Tennessee file successful divorce petitions that ensure they obtain the best possible outcome. We directly service Sparta, Kingston, Crossville, and Cookeville with offices in each.  We also handle matters in the surrounding regions.  Contact our firm today at 931-837-2050 or 865-354-3333 to schedule a consultation so we can explore the options available for you.