One of the most popular songs in Tennessee proclaims that “Rocky Top, you’ll always be home sweet home to me, Rocky Top Tennessee.”
If your marriage is on the rocks, you should know the divorce laws in Tennessee.
Tennessee divorce laws – adultery
Tennessee is one of the states that still allows a “fault” like adultery to be the grounds for a divorce.
In Tennessee a divorce can be granted for impotency, bigamy, adultery, desertion, a conviction of a serious crime, cruelty, and abandonment.
One spouse basically has to prove to the court that the other did something wrong. Just a few decades ago this was the only way to get divorced in America.
Today, most couples in Tennessee, or anywhere else, will get divorced on a “no-fault” basis. The main no-fault ground for divorce in Tennessee is “irreconcilable differences between the parties.”
In other words, the marriage is on the rocks and the couple wants to end it. Neither spouse necessarily did anything wrong in a no-fault divorce.
Tennessee divorce laws – property
ost people know that if they get divorced they are going to get about half of everything the couple owns.
Judges granting a divorce under State of Tennessee divorce laws must “equitably divide” the couple’s property if one spouse requests that.
In most cases, the split will be about even, but the judge must consider factors like the length of the marriage, each spouse’s age, the earning capacity of each spouse, and how much the couple brought into the marriage.
Tennessee divorce laws – adultery and alimony
As mentioned above, Tennessee is a fault-divorce state.
Tennessee divorce laws do not allow a court to consider fault when making determinations about property division or spousal support.
One spouse can be ordered to pay the other spouse monthly payments. A common example of someone getting spousal support would be a homemaker wife that may struggle to make a living on her own. That said, a spouse that cheated cannot be punished by being forced to pay support.
Hop on the express line
The express package delivery service FedEx is based in Memphis, Tennessee.
Tennessee divorce laws also have a bit of an express lane. If a couple does not own real estate and can reach an agreement on how to split their assets and take care of their children, then they can get an “agreed divorce.”
This is a much faster process where a judge can just rubber-stamp an agreement from the couple.
Child custody and support
The other big emotional issue in divorce is children.
A court has to look at what is in the child’s best interest and not necessarily do what the parents want. The court must decide where the children will live, and whether each parent will continue to be involved in important decisions.
One parent may have to pay the other to help care for the child, based on a calculator that looks at the time the child spends with each parent and their relative incomes.