Family Law & Online Divorce in Tennessee
The process for getting a divorce, family law, and rules of the civil procedure vary from state to state, even though each divorce case requires several basic steps, which are typical for all.
These steps are filing a divorce petition, serving the second spouse with the divorce papers, negotiating a settlement, a divorce trial or uncontested final hearing, and getting a final judgment. In turn, Tennessee Code contains the title, relative to family law, that determines how exactly the steps above must be accomplished.
And finally, though all couples filing for divorce must follow Tennessee laws and local court rules, they still have rather broad discretion to manage their case. Thus, the spouses may (and are encouraged to) resolve their disputes independently and avoid judicial decision-making in litigation, or, if the parties cannot reach an agreement, to end up in court, asking a judge to make these decisions.
To form a comprehensive picture of the divorce process and online divorce services in Tennessee, one of these services is tennesseeonlinedivorce.com as the most straightforward way to prepare for it, let’s briefly consider some of the main concepts, laws, and requirements.
Tennessee Divorce Basics
A couple is eligible to apply for divorce in the state of Tennessee if:
- The ground for divorce occurred while the petitioner (the spouse initiating the case) was a resident;
- The ground for divorce occurred out of state, but either spouse has been a Tennessee resident for six months before starting the case.
The petitioner must also file for divorce in the county where at least one of the parties currently resides.
Grounds for Divorce
Grounds for divorce specify the circumstances under which a divorce will be granted. Each state provides its list of grounds, and the plaintiff must indicate one of them in the divorce petition.
Tennessee is a mixed state, meaning that both fault and no-fault grounds are recognized. Fault grounds are associated with the spousal misconduct that caused an intent to divorce or other causes that must be proved before the court to be valid.
In Tennessee, fault grounds for divorce include:
- a conviction of an infamous crime or felony;
- alcohol or drug addiction;
- the wife is pregnant by another at the time of marriage without the husband’s knowledge;
- willful desertion for one year;
- endangering the life of the spouse;
- abandonment or neglecting to provide when having the ability to do so;
- and indignities that make the spouse’s life intolerable.
No-fault grounds for divorce include irreconcilable differences (this ground is available if the parties reach an agreement about children, property, and other essential terms of their separation), and living separate and apart without cohabitation for two years, as long as the spouses do not have minor children.
Tennessee follows an equitable distribution model for property division in a divorce. This principle gives the courts considerable authority over dividing the property equitably and fairly, not necessarily 50/50.
In an uncontested divorce, the spouses must solve all the property issues out-of-court by making a Marital Dissolution Agreement. Besides, they must not have minor children, and a wife must not be pregnant at the time of divorce.
Along with it, only the marital property is subject to division. Property acquired before the marriage, anything gained in exchange for such a property, and each partner’s gifts and inheritances are considered separate property and remain with the initial owner.
In a divorce in Tennessee, the court may enter an order for alimony if the spouse seeking support is financially dependent for some valid reason or it would make the divorce settlement more equitable.
Based on this review, the judge can order one of three types of alimony:
- Temporary alimony. This type of maintenance is designed to help the spouse with a lower income cover unplanned expenses caused by the lawsuit (filing fees, internet divorce services, lawyers assistance, etc.), so it is paid while a divorce is pending.
- Short-term alimony. Also called rehabilitative support, this type of spousal support helps the party who can’t support themselves to gain needed professional skills and find appropriate employment as soon as possible.
- Long-term alimony. It is permanent alimony, which the court orders only for very long-term marriages and for spouses who have significant needs and can’t earn enough by themselves.
Tennessee courts could award child custody to either parent or both of them unless the parents agreed on the child-related issues by themselves.
Both physical and legal custody can be awarded to one parent only, both parents jointly, or other various combinations. For example, the court may award sole physical custody and joint legal custody at the same time.
Along with it, if the court finds that one parent willfully abandoned the child for at least 18 months, that parent’s role in the child’s life, including visitation rights, can be substantially limited.
First Step in Seeking a Divorce
Even though each divorce case is unique, and there are many divorce routes available for a couple depending on their particular circumstances, each divorce starts with preparing the necessary paperwork.
At this initial stage of the process, the online divorce option is suitable for all couples who do not contest the case, regardless of the rest of their circumstances (whether a simple DIY divorce or collaborative or mediated one, etc. and regardless of the type of legal aid). Online divorce does not actually mean application for divorce online. It is a quick and inexpensive service for preparing legal forms online.
Typically, online divorce companies (not to be confused with law firms) provide an online questionnaire for the customer to answer. Based on the information received, the document drafting service selects the necessary forms and fills them out for the client, following Tennessee state laws and regulations.
Being recognized and legit in Tennessee and nationwide, online divorce provides a straightforward and affordable way to avoid unnecessary effort and stress and complete divorce papers online without leaving home.