Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce in Tennessee
Knowledgeable Jackson family lawyers answer your questions
At Grant & Sain, PLLC, your local attorneys are committed to addressing all your concerns. We understand how important it is to give you thorough and accurate information that is pertinent to your case. We take the time to answer all your divorce questions in the detail you require to come away with greater peace of mind. To get you started, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about divorce:
- What is a legal separation?
- What are the grounds for divorce in Tennessee?
- What is the difference between contested divorce and uncontested divorce?
- How long does it take to get divorced in Tennessee?
- How can I get a child support order changed?
- How long must I wait after divorce to get remarried?
We look forward to answering any additional questions you have when we meet in person.
Talk to our Jackson divorce attorneys for complete answers and peace of mind
If you’ve got urgent questions about divorce in Tennessee, trust the family law attorneys at Grant & Sain, PLLC to provide the information and dedicated legal services you need. We manage your case professionally, capably and personally. To schedule a consultation, call 731-410-7832 or contact our Jackson office online.
Legal separation is not simply the decision a couple makes to live apart; it is a recognized legal status in Tennessee enforced by a family court order. The parties are no longer married, but they are not exactly divorced. People sometimes choose legal separation because they are not ready to commit to a final divorce, have a religious objection to divorce, or want to preserve their rights to certain benefits. Grounds for legal separation are the same as those for divorce, and separating couples must settle the same issues, including property division, support, and child custody. The major difference is that legally separated persons are not free to remarry.
There are a number of grounds that divorcing spouses can allege in Tennessee, including these:
- Maintenance of separate residences for childless couples, with no cohabitation, for two or more years
- Willful or malicious desertion for at least one year
- Criminal conviction that renders one party “infamous” or confined to prison
- Attempted murder of the other spouse
- Habitual drunkenness or alcohol and other substance abuse
You need not allege grounds in a Tennessee divorce at all, however. You may file for a no-fault divorce by simply stating that the marital relationship is irretrievably broken.
An uncontested divorce is one that does not go to trial because the parties have submitted a marital settlement agreement to the court, which it has approved. Any divorce where the parties cannot settle all of their ancillary issues through negotiation or mediation is contested, because those unsettled issues get a hearing in the family court.
Uncontested divorces are usually the quickest, but because Tennessee has a mandatory “cooling off” period of 60 days for no-fault divorces with no minor children and 90 days for no-fault divorces with children, it’s usually difficult to complete the process in less than four to six months. There is no statutory waiting period for fault-based divorces, but those tend to be heavily contested, so litigation could last anywhere from several months to a few years. The specific facts of your case, especially the complexity of child custody and property issues, will determine the length of your divorce.
Tennessee courts will only consider modifying a child support order if there has been a substantial change in circumstances that justifies a revision of the terms, such as when the parent required to pay support has lost a job and is temporarily unable to pay, or when a child has developed health problems that require special care. It is not unusual for parents of growing children to revisit their support agreement every few years. Usually, parents can work out a new agreement and take it to the court for approval. Court approval is critical, because until the court issues a new order, the old order is still enforceable, no matter what the parents might have agreed to informally.
Following your final hearing in court, there is still a 30-day appeal period during which you cannot remarry.