316 West Main Street, Murfreesboro, TN 37130


Divorce and Separation in Murfreesboro, TN

The breakdown of a marriage presents emotional challenges, and knowing how to deal with them isn’t easy. At McCarter | East, our lawyers provide compassion, understanding, guidance and legal solutions for your marital problems. Sometimes clients need help evaluating whether to pursue legal separation or divorce.

When considering divorce, a family lawyer can help you can determine which type of divorce best suits your situation.

Collaborative divorce

In a collaborative divorce, couples work closely with their lawyers and other professionals, using a problem-solving, team approach to settle their differences. Your attorneys may ask you to consult counselors, financial planners, appraisers, tax consultants or other professionals. When spouses are able to communicate and work together toward a positive resolution, the atmosphere is one of cooperation and respect.

Contested vs. uncontested divorce

In an uncontested divorce, couples reach agreements about all divorce issues, such as child custody, visitation, child support, property division and spousal support, if appropriate. Alternative dispute resolution techniques such as collaborative law, mediation or a negotiated settlement are often used to resolve disputed issues.

By comparison, a contested divorce is one in which the spouses are unable to resolve their disputes despite resolution attempts. Litigation is the last resort but sometimes is the only option.

Fault and no-fault divorce

In Tennessee, the only ground required for a no-fault divorce is “irreconcilable differences.” A no-fault divorce must also be an uncontested divorce. For couples who have no children and want a no-fault divorce, they must also live apart for two years. Couples can also obtain a mutual consent no-fault divorce, which generally takes two to six months.

In contrast, a fault-based divorce requires the spouse who’s seeking the divorce to prove one of the following about the other spouse:

  • Bigamy
  • Adultery
  • Willful or malicious desertion or leaving the other spouse without reasonable cause for one year
  • Conviction of a crime considered to be infamous under Tennessee law
  • Commission of a felony and confinement in a penitentiary
  • An attempt to take the other spouse’s life in a way that showed malice
  • At the time of marriage, the spouse was naturally impotent and unable to procreate
  • Refusal to move with the spouse to Tennessee without reasonable cause and remaining willingly absent from the spouse who was residing in Tennessee for two years
  • Pregnancy at the time of marriage by another person without the husband’s knowledge
  • Habitual drinking or narcotic drugs abuse after marriage
  • Cruel and inhumane treatment of the other spouse, making cohabitation unsafe and improper
  • Indignities toward the other spouse making life intolerable and causing the spouse to withdraw
  • Abandonment of the other spouse or turning the spouse away, refusing or neglecting to provide for the other spouse when capable of doing so

The divorce process in Tennessee

Because understanding divorce law is necessary for making informed decisions, you are wise to work with a knowledgeable attorney who can guide you through the process. No two divorces are the same, and depending on the type of divorce you pursue, the legal process varies.

Separation vs. divorce

In Tennessee, legal separation uses the same grounds as divorce. You address the same issues — child custody, visitation, child support, property division and in some cases spousal support. The main difference between separation and divorce is that couples can’t remarry if they are merely separated. Similar to divorce, you can pursue legal separation on fault or no-fault grounds and as a contested or uncontested legal action.

Contact our firm for a free initial consultation

Our attorneys are available at 615-893-9255 to speak with you about divorce or legal separation. You also can use our email form to contact us and arrange your appointment.


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