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Tennessee Divorce Laws

Divorce is rarely an easy process and often involves emotionally charged disputes and tough decisions, particularly when children are involved. But while state laws don't force people to stay married if it's no longer working out, states do have certain divorce law requirements.

Tennessee, for instance, allows "no-fault" divorce after a two-year separation if no minor children are involved. Other grounds for divorce in Tennessee include adultery, cruelty, drug/alcohol addiction, and the existence of a previously unresolved marriage.

This article provides a brief overview of divorce laws in the state of Tennessee.

Divorce Laws in Tennessee: At a Glance

If you are considering filing for divorce, review the following provisions of Tennessee's divorce laws to get started. See FindLaw's extensive Divorce section for additional resources.

Code Section

§ 36-4-101 et seq. of the Tennessee Code

Residency Requirements

No residency is required if acts were committed while the plaintiff was a resident; or if grounds arose out of state and the plaintiff or defendant has resided in the state six months preceding filing (one year prior for military personnel or spouse)

Waiting Period


'No-Fault' Grounds for Divorce

Separation of two years with no minor children; irreconcilable differences

Defenses to a Divorce Filing

For adultery, defense is if the complainant is guilty of like act, or had sex with the spouse after adultery with knowledge; or the spouse solicited the other spouse for prostitution or exposed them to lewd society that ensnared them to adultery

Other Grounds for Divorce

Adultery; cruelty or violence including attempted murder of the other; desertion for one year or absent state for two years; drug/alcohol addiction; impotency; pregnant at the time of marriage by another person, without knowledge of spouse; offers indignities that render other spouse's condition/life intolerable, the conviction of an infamous crime or felony; previous marriage unresolved; also irreconcilable differences; lived separately without cohabitation for two continuous years and there are no minor children; abandonment or refusing/neglecting to provide when having the ability to do so

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Anyone filing for divorce or responding to a divorce filing will want to get acquainted with Tennessee's court-approved divorce forms. The forms are available for download in either Word or PDF format. If you choose to mediate your divorce, the state offers a directory of mediators.

Research the Law

Tennessee Legal Requirements for Divorce: Related Resources

Get Help From a Tennessee Divorce Lawyer

While you are going through the stages of a divorce, you'll likely have questions about filing procedures, child custody, and spousal support, in addition to inquiries about mediation and more. An experienced legal professional will know the laws of your state and fight to get you the best possible outcome.

Contact a skilled Tennessee divorce attorney near you today.

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