Tennessee Divorce Laws

In most cases, getting married is easy and quick, while getting divorced is expensive and time-consuming. Dissolution of marriage is a complicated process because you need to manage your emotions and learn the current Tennessee divorce law, requirements, rules, and step-by-step procedure. If you don’t have any legal education, understanding the divorce laws in Tennessee that you need to follow can be confusing and exhausting.

To make it easier for you to prepare for divorce, we will provide the necessary information about Tennessee divorce laws and the specifics of the dissolutionment of marriage process. If you need assistance in the preparation of dissolution of marriage forms, you can contact us to quickly complete the documents required for an uncontested dissolution of marriage.

In this article, we have collected information that may help you get an answer to the question, “How much does a divorce cost in Tennessee, and what factors affect it?” If you are looking for a way to reduce the divorce cost in TN and quickly prepare for it, you can contact our online service to complete the necessary papers at an acceptable price and without stress.

TN Divorce Laws: Waiting Period

Here is one of the most important requirements of TN divorce laws: the waiting period for couples without minor unmarried children is 60 days or 90 days for those who have unmarried children under 18 (Tenn. Code § 36-4-101(b)). Therefore, you will not be able to finalize your dissolution of marriage before this time expires.

In addition, according to Tennessee divorce laws, the parties must comply with other requirements to obtain marriage dissolution.

Current divorce laws in TN specify that before filing for divorce, you need to:

  1. Analyze your case and understand whether you and your spouse can agree on child-related and property division issues to file for uncontested dissolution of marriage.
  2. Collect evidence if you are divorcing on fault-based grounds or if the spouse’s behavior may affect the amount of alimony, the proportion of property division, etc. Most often, this applies to cases of adultery.
  3. Prepare information about all property owned by you and the other party. Their list includes real estate, cars, retirement accounts, bank deposits, jewelry, etc.
  4. Confirm your income level and prepare a report on your monthly earnings and expenses.
  5. Assess your children’s financial needs after the divorce and calculate the costs of health insurance, education, food, etc.
  6. Make a custody and visitation plan for children and determine where they will live, study, and spend their holidays.
  7. Prepare dissolution of marriage forms for filing with the court according to the circumstances of your case.

Please note that under the TN divorce laws, you may also be required to attend court-ordered parenting classes if you have minor children.

What Are the Divorce Laws in Tennessee?

If you are interested in what the divorce laws are in Tennessee, you can find them in the Tennessee Code, Title 36, Chapter 4, entitled “Divorce and Annulment.” It outlines the main rules related to the dissolutionment of marriage, such as residency requirements, no-fault and fault-based grounds, waiting period, etc.

The following Tennessee divorce laws are a must-read if you plan to file for divorce within the state:

  1. You can file a divorce petition in Tennessee if the grounds for dissolution of marriage arose while the plaintiff was a state resident. If the petitioner leaves the state and the cause of divorce emerges out of it, one spouse must have lived in Tennessee for at least 6 months prior to submitting papers to the court ( Code Ann. § 36-4-104).
  2. If none of the parties blames the other for actions leading to the breakdown of their marriage, spouses can file for divorce on no-fault grounds. These can be irreconcilable differences or living separately for two years without cohabitation, provided they do not have children under 18 ( Code Ann. § 36-4-101(a) (14-15)).
  3. According to TN divorce laws, fault-based grounds are also allowed for divorce within the state. Some of them include impotence at the time of marriage and during it, adultery, desertion for at least 1 full year, conviction for committing a serious or shameful crime, attempt on a spouse’s life, chronic substance abuse, cruel treatment, and entering into a second marriage without divorcing a previous spouse, among others. All these legal at-fault grounds are listed in the Code Ann. § 36-4-101(a).

Regardless of whether you have an uncontested dissolution of marriage or a contested one, you need to follow the basic TN divorce laws. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may need to check other Tennessee Code chapters related to alimony, child custody, and property division.

Divorce Laws in Tennessee for Infidelity

According to Tennessee divorce laws, adultery can be one of the grounds for a dissolution of marriage based on fault (Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-4-101(a)(3)). To get a divorce for this reason, you will have to provide evidence of your spouse’s affair, which can be photos, witness statements, etc.

Divorce laws in Tennessee for infidelity do not provide for any punishment for the offender. However, such indecent behavior can affect the award of alimony and the distribution of joint property. For example, if the unfaithful spouse spent money on an extramarital affair, the court may consider it “wasteful expenditures” (Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-4-121(c)(5)(B)). Therefore, the judge can grant alimony to the betrayed party or share the assets in such a way as to compensate for the losses from adultery.

TN divorce laws do not indicate that infidelity will necessarily affect the resolution of marital financial disputes, although it is possible in some cases.

When preparing for a divorce due to adultery, you may need additional dissolution of marriage forms.


All the basic Tennessee divorce laws are outlined in the Tennessee Code. It specifies requirements and grounds for dissolutionment of marriage within the state as well as stipulations for resolving disputes on divorce terms between spouses.

Under divorce laws in Tennessee, spouses can terminate their marital relations on fault-based grounds. Their list includes adultery, habitual substance abuse, desertion, abandonment, etc.

If spouses have an uncontested dissolution of marriage, they may decide how their property will be shared on their own. If they cannot agree, the court will divide their assets, liabilities, and debts based on the principle of equitable distribution as specified in the TN divorce laws.

Tennessee divorce laws do not require parties to reside separately to get a divorce. However, one of the no-fault grounds for dissolutionment of marriage is separate living without cohabitation for at least 24 months.

It is possible to get an annulment only under specific conditions when the marriage was illegal from the beginning, such as in cases of bigamy, insanity, incest, fraud, etc. It may be reasonable to consult a professional attorney on the legal annulment procedure and the forms to prepare.