What to know about starting the divorce process in Tennessee

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Choosing to begin the divorce process tends to be a difficult decision for many people. It may feel like you’re uprooting your life, and you may wonder how to even begin this process. We understand your struggle, and we’d love to help. For more information, reach out to a Shelby County, Tennessee divorce lawyer.

If I’ve moved out of my marital home, where do I begin the divorce process?

Generally speaking, states have a residency requirement to file for divorce. The goal of this is to prevent people from going to other states to find a judge that they feel may rule in their favor. In Tennessee, you must have been a resident for a minimum of six months to file for divorce. Fortunately, if you can meet this requirement and your spouse still lives in Tennessee, then you should be eligible for a divorce in Tennessee.

Should I choose litigation or mediation in Tennessee?

For most divorces, we would not advise that you and your spouse choose litigation. While litigation is a valid option for settling disputes, the problem with it is that it usually makes the divorce process more contentious. This can result in both parties doing damage to their case and one party feeling underrepresented by the end. This is why we would advise you to choose mediation over litigation. Litigation tends to result in both parties being represented fairly, having their voices heard, and coming to agreements easier. If you feel like you and your spouse can reach an agreement amicably, then mediation is likely your best option.

What are Tennessee’s grounds for divorce?

To begin the divorce process in Tennessee, you must first prove that there are grounds for divorce. This means that you must demonstrate how your spouse’s actions caused the divorce. However, this law also allows for both a divorce with fault and no-fault divorce. We would advise you to consider a no-fault divorce because of its efficiency, but if you were to choose a divorce with fault, you should be aware of some sample arguments. These include:

  • Your spouse is incapable of procreation
  • Your spouse committed adultery
  • Your spouse has deserted you
  • Your spouse became addicted to drugs or alcohol during the marriage
  • Your spouse has attempted to take your life

We understand that grounds for divorce can be varied and complicated, so if you have further questions, make sure to call our Shelby County, Tennessee family lawyers.


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.