What are the Grounds for Divorce in TN?
01 January 2016IN: Family Law
In Tennessee, you don’t have to have grounds to get a divorce. If you and your spouse have both decided that it’s just not working out anymore and you’d be better off living separate lives, you can both sign the divorce papers and be free of one another. If, however, you want to get a divorce but your spouse doesn’t, you’re going to have to show cause. This is what’s called a contested divorce, and it requires grounds, or a reason that the state should legally recognize your need for a divorce.
Tennessee recognizes many grounds for divorce in contested cases. These are:
A spouse can be accused of adultery even if the sexual relations occurred after a separation.
- Pregnancy before the marriage without the husband’s knowledge. The woman must be pregnant with another man’s child at the time that she marries her current spouse. The husband may not have had sexual relations with the wife before marriage for this defense to be valid.
- Habitual drunkenness of drug abuse. However, you must not have known about this problem before you were married.
- Conviction of a felony. The conviction must also lead to imprisonment.
- Conviction of an infamous crime, such as sexual abuse, larceny, and arson.
- “Indignities.” These refer to any physical abuse your spouse inflicts on you or any attempt to inflict physical pain.
- Attempted murder. If your spouse makes an attempt on your life and you can prove it, you can feel assured in knowing that the state of Tennessee will grant you a divorce.
- If your spouse kicks you out or leaves you and refuses to provide for you, you have grounds for divorce.
- Living apart for two years. If you have no children together and you and your spouse have been living apart for two years, you can be granted a divorce.
- Refusal to move. If one spouse lives in Tennessee but the other spouse refuses to move here, the resident spouse can sue for divorce.
- If you can prove that your spouse has married someone else, you can be granted a divorce.
- Impotency and sterility. The impotency must be incurable, and it must have existed before the marriage.
Other examples of grounds include mistreatment such as degradation or mental abuse or inappropriate marital behavior.