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Divorce is the legal process whereby a marriage is terminated and the parties are no longer considered a married couple. Whether a divorce is uncontested (meaning that both parties want the marriage to end and agree on all issues) or is contested and must be litigated in court, most will agree that the divorce process can be time-consuming, emotionally-draining, and potentially disadvantageous to one spouse or the other.
Are you considering filing for divorce in Tennessee? Doing so without the advice and counsel of an experienced Memphis divorce attorney can result in your personal and financial future being adversely affected. Douglass & Runger, Attorneys at Law, can help ensure that your legal interests and rights are protected throughout the divorce process.
Types of Divorce in Tennessee
In Tennessee, a divorce can be either uncontested or contested. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses both agree that the marriage can no longer continue due to irreconcilable differences and both spouses agree as to how their affairs should be wound up. This means that the parties in an uncontested divorce will need to agree on matters such as:
- Property division and division of the marital assets;
- Which parent will be the primary residential parent;
- The visitation schedule to be followed to that the other parent is able to exercise visitation time; and/or
- Whether one spouse ought to receive spousal support and, if so, in what amount.
A divorcing couple in an uncontested proceeding will reduce their agreement to one or more writings for filing with the court. Unless it appears one spouse is taking advantage of the other or some illegality is being perpetrated, the court will usually accept the parties’ agreement(s) and enter appropriate orders.
If the parties cannot reach an agreement as to one or more of the issues that must be determined, or if one of the spouses does not want a divorce while the other one does, then the divorce becomes contested. This means that the party wanting the divorce will need to file a petition and have this petition served on the other spouse. One or more grounds for divorce (such as adultery, bigamy, or abandonment) may need to be proven if both spouses do not agree to end the marriage based on irreconcilable differences. A court will decide any issues or matters in accordance with the law on which the parties cannot agree.
Who Can File for Divorce in Tennessee?
Not everyone who is presently residing in Tennessee can file for a divorce and have a Tennessee court hear their case. Residential and other requirements exist to ensure a Tennessee court has jurisdiction (or “power” or “ability”) to hear and decide the issues of the case. If a Tennessee court lacks jurisdiction, it may not enter any orders. In general, for a Tennessee court to exercise jurisdiction over a divorce:
- The spouse filing for divorce must have been a resident of Tennessee for at least six months preceding the filing;
- If a divorce is sought based on an emergency (abuse, for instance) but neither spouse has lived in Tennessee for the preceding six months, the abuse or emergency must have occurred in Tennessee; and
- Service of the petition and other important papers must be effected on the other spouse, even if he or she lives out of state.
Why Hiring a Memphis Divorce Attorney is Critical
There is no such thing as a “typical divorce” – each couple’s situation and circumstances are different and can involve complicated questions of law. The advice and counsel of a Tennessee divorce lawyer from Douglass & Runger, Attorneys at Law can help ensure that your divorce is properly filed and that your interests are represented through the process. Contact Douglass & Runger, Attorneys at Law today at (901) 388-5805 to learn more about receiving legal counsel during your divorce proceedings.