What is the Difference Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce in Tennessee?

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The difference between a contested and uncontested divorce is that, in an uncontested divorce, both parties agree on all of the terms and have no disputes about the terms that apply to the termination of their marriage. In a contested divorce both parties cannot reach an agreement on all significant issues relevant to the divorce. If you need help deciding which route to take in the divorce process, reach out to an experienced Shelby County, Tennessee Divorce Lawyer who can help you make the right decision. If you would like to learn more about what contested and uncontested divorces look like in Tennessee, please continue to read.

What Does a Contested Divorce Look Like in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, a contested divorce can only take place if both parties cannot make a collaborative agreement on significant issues. If both parties cannot agree on the grounds for the divorce, and cannot agree on the division of property and all assets; they will have to have a contested divorce. In a contested divorce both spouses cannot agree on one or more divorce-related terms, such as child custody, alimony, and child support. If they cannot agree on all significant child-related issues this is the route they will have to take to terminate the terms of their marriage.

What Are Acceptable Grounds for a Divorce?

Under Tennessee law, you can either cite fault grounds or file a no-fault divorce. Just because you file a no-fault divorce, however, doesn’t mean that your divorce isn’t contested; it simply means that you aren’t specifically blaming your spouse for the divorce. That said, if you choose to file a fault-based divorce, you may cite one of the following grounds:

  • Adultery
  • Abandonment
  • Bigamy
  • Conviction of a felony
  • Cruelty
  • Desertion
  • Impotence
  • Imprisonment
  • Inappropriate marital conduct
  • Substance addiction

Though you may choose any of the aforementioned fault grounds, you should understand that in most cases, we advise clients to simply file a no-fault divorce. Once you choose specific fault grounds, your spouse has a right to deny your accusations, which can lead to a longer, more protracted divorce process. Furthermore, citing fault grounds seldom results in a favorable outcome.

What Does an Uncontested Divorce Look Like in Tennessee?

The only way you will be granted an uncontested divorce in Tennessee is if both parties are able to agree on all significant aspects of the termination of the marriage. Tennessee has another method of getting an uncontested divorce. It ultimately depends on if you have children or shared property. This type of divorce is known as an agreed divorce.

An agreed divorce can only happen if you and your spouse do not have:

  • children together
  • real estate together
  • a business together
  • retirement benefits together

If you do not share any of these points you could be entitled to an agreed divorce. If you can also agree on wanting to terminate the marriage, alimony, and dividing all assets you could potentially have an agreed divorce in the state of Tennessee. If you are considering an uncontested divorce in Tennessee, contact a knowledgeable Memphis, Tennessee Uncontested Divorce Lawyer who can help you start the divorce process.


If you require strong legal representation for matters of divorce and family law in Memphis or anywhere in Tennessee, contact Rice Law to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.