Divorce and legal separation are complex processes that require the professional assistance of experienced divorce attorneys. When a marriage ends, spouses and their families face stressful circumstances such as new parenting schedules, property division, financial planning, and living arrangements.
The attorneys at McCarter | East PLLC understand that the emotions caused by these changes can make it difficult for spouses to navigate the legal landscape of divorce and legal separation. That’s why we’ve dedicated our practice to helping you to make the best possible decisions for you and your family during this difficult time.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Tennessee?
If you’re just entering into the divorce process, you may wonder what evidence you need to show the court in order to prove that a divorce or legal separation is appropriate. In reality, most couples in Tennessee who choose to end their marriage are able to do so without necessarily “proving” that the other spouse is to blame for the separation. It all depends on your unique circumstances, including how cooperative you and your spouse choose to be with one another.
McCarter | East PLLC offers legal services for divorce on fault grounds, no-fault grounds, and legal separation. As you explore your best options for ending your marriage, you may have questions about what each of these legal processes entails. We’re here to answer those questions.
Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce
The state of Tennessee allows spouses to divorce on fault grounds for many reasons, including (but not limited to):
Either spouse committing adultery
Either spouse knowingly entering into a second marriage
Either spouse maliciously or willfully deserting or leaving the other for one year without reasonable cause
Habitual alcohol and/or drug abuse
A criminal conviction
Again, these are just a few examples of legally recognized grounds for divorce in the event that you and your ex can’t come to a mutual agreement to end your marriage. In many cases, neither spouse needs to prove fault or place blame on the other for the separation. Rather, the separating couple can pursue a no-fault divorce.
No-Fault Grounds for Divorce
Spouses in Tennessee can file for divorce on no-fault grounds if they can agree to state that they simply have “irreconcilable differences.” Likewise, you can pursue a no-fault divorce if you and your spouse have been living in separate residences for at least two years. However, the latter option is only valid if you and your spouse don’t have children.
To learn more about whether this option is right for your situation, we invite you to schedule an informative consultation with one of our knowledgeable divorce attorneys.
What Is Legal Separation?
Legal separation allows you and your spouse to live separately with separate finances. In these cases, decisions related to the division of marital assets and debts, child support, and child custody are ordered by the court.
Divorce and legal separation are very similar, but the key difference is that your marriage has not formally ended and you are not a single person in a legal separation. While legally separated, you are still required to mark yourself as married on forms, and you cannot remarry while separated. You also still have the right to inherit from one another.
Throughout Tennessee, couples choose to pursue a legal separation as opposed to a complete divorce for various reasons. Often, these reasons relate to their religious beliefs, financial and/or insurance-related needs, or the desire to have a trial separation before deciding to commit to a divorce. If you’d like to further explore this option, we encourage you to reach out to McCarter | East PLLC today.