If you and your spouse have come to the decision that your marriage can no longer continue, it is important to understand the legal avenues available to you in the state of Tennessee. Gaining knowledge about the process can empower you to make informed decisions during this challenging time. Tennessee recognizes several types of divorce, each with its own procedures and requirements. Whether your separation is amicable or contested, there is a legal framework to address your circumstances.
As you consider your next steps, remember that each type of divorce is designed to address different aspects of the dissolution of a marriage.
A no-fault divorce is one where the parties do not need to prove wrongdoing by either spouse. Instead, they can cite irreconcilable differences as the reason for the divorce.
Alternatively, one spouse can file for a fault-based divorce by proving that the other spouse’s misconduct led to the end of the marriage. Grounds for a fault-based divorce in Tennessee include adultery, desertion, cruelty, habitual drunkenness or drug abuse.
An uncontested divorce in Tennessee is one in which both spouses agree on all major issues, including property division, alimony, child custody and child support. This type of divorce is typically faster and less costly, as it avoids a prolonged court battle.
A contested divorce is one where the spouses cannot agree on one or more key issues, and the court might have to decide for them. It is usually lengthier and more costly due to the increased legal involvement. Most divorces begin as a contested divorce, but when spouses agree that it is better to resolve issues outside the courtroom, then it does not need to lead to litigation.
A litigated divorce is a type of divorce that involves going to court and having a judge make decisions on the various aspects of the divorce. It is the traditional form of divorce, and litigation usually follows a contested divorce. In a litigated divorce, one or both spouses are unable to resolve divorce-related matters. As a result, they rely on the legal system and a judge to determine the outcome.
In a mediated divorce, a neutral third party works with the spouses and helps them reach a settlement on all divorce-related issues. The mediator does not make decisions but facilitates communication to help achieve a mutually acceptable agreement.
A collaborative divorce is a more formal alternative dispute resolution method than mediation. Each spouse hires their own attorney, and all parties agree to work together to resolve issues outside of court. The goal is to reach a fair settlement for both parties without going to trial.
The state’s legal system offers various avenues to handle the end of a marriage fairly and with due process. It is important to carefully consider which type of divorce aligns with your personal circumstances, promoting an equitable and healing resolution for all involved.