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Grounds for Divorce Under Tennessee Divorce Laws


Divorces in Tennessee are divided into two categories. First, there are uncontested divorces, which are better known as no-fault divorces. This primarily covers irreconcilable differences, but it can also include willful separations under certain circumstances. Second, there are contested divorces, which require one party to provide proof of the other’s fault. There are many categories of contested divorces. 

Getting a divorce affects multiple people. Therefore, there are some important things to consider before filing for divorce. A trusted attorney can provide you with the necessary information and help you make the best decision for you and your family. 

How Can You Get an Uncontested Divorce?

The most common cause for this type of divorce is irreconcilable differences. These are legally defined as differences of opinion or will that can’t be brought into harmony or as a relentlessly hostile relationship. In such a divorce in Tennessee, no single party is considered at fault, and the two spouses have agreed to all the terms and divisions of property and to a parenting plan if children are involved before going to court.

In addition, separation can also lead to a no-fault divorce. For such a divorce to happen, you must have lived apart for a continuous period of at least two years, you must not have been able to cohabitate during that period, and you must not have any minor children. Otherwise, the divorce will be seen as contested.

Learn More About Splitting Assets in Divorce

How Can You Get a Contested Divorce Under Tennessee Divorce Laws?

There are many grounds for a divorce that would be contested. The most common Tennessee divorce is inappropriate marital conduct. This term is relatively vague and can mean anything from spousal abuse to refusing to contribute to home and household bills. This is a generic legal phrase in Tennessee divorce law and does not automatically mean you’re being accused of anything.

What Are Other Grounds For Divorce in Tennessee?

Another common divorce in Tennessee involves adultery. However, such grounds are challenging to prove in court. Direct or circumstantial evidence may be used to prove adultery. Direct evidence includes pictures, videos, or eyewitness testimony. Circumstantial evidence includes proving that the offending spouse had the opportunity to commit infidelity. In addition, there must be proof that the two of you didn’t agree to the affair beforehand.

Impotence is also grounds for divorce. A divorce can be granted if one spouse has been sexually impotent and sterile since before the marriage. Inability to procreate isn’t enough. The spouse in question can’t be capable of intercourse.

Bigamy can also lead to a divorce if there’s proof one spouse was still married at the time. Bigamy is also a Class A misdemeanor under Tennessee law. Substance abuse is acceptable grounds if you were unaware of the addiction to alcohol or narcotics before the marriage.

Extramarital pregnancy is also grounds if you weren’t aware your spouse was pregnant with another man’s child before the wedding.

What Are The Grounds for Divorce if You’re Being Abused or Abandoned?

Abandonment and desertion are both grounds, but they have slightly different meanings. Abandonment means that you were turned out of your home for no reason and received no support from your spouse. Desertion means that your spouse willfully or maliciously cut you out of their life. If you’re going for desertion, you’ll need to provide proof of the duration of desertion and that you’ve been cut off from communication.

If you find out your spouse was convicted of an “infamous” crime, like incest or larceny, you can petition for a divorce. Even if the crime wasn’t considered “infamous” under Tennessee law, you can still petition if your spouse is a convicted felon who served time in prison.

Another pair of grounds that are close to each other are indignities and cruel and inhuman treatment. Indignity refers to a spouse who treats you with consistent rudeness, neglect, or hatred that intolerable your life. Cruel and inhumane treatment covers this, but it can also cover domestic or sexual violence, failure to provide proper living conditions, or other types of mistreatment.

Attempted murder is considered separate grounds from cruel treatment. For an attempted murder divorce, you have to prove that the attempt was malicious and deliberate.

Middle Tennessee’s Divorce and Family Attorneys 

Navigating a divorce is difficult for everyone involved. Enlisting the help of a trusted attorney will ensure a smoother process.

Flexer Law has been serving the legal needs of Middle Tennessee residents since 1981. Our experienced divorce and family attorneywill work diligently on your behalf to provide the best financial outcome for you. 

We have three office locations throughout Middle Tennessee to accommodate your legal needs. Contact us to schedule a consultation, and we’ll find the best solution to get your financial life back on track. 

Flexer Law Office Locations – Divorce Lawyers

  • Nashville, TN
  • Murfreesboro, TN
  • Columbia, TN
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