TENNESSEE DIVORCE LAWS:
The Residency Requirement: If the cause for divorce arose outside of Tennessee, then either spouse must have been a resident of Tennessee for six months. If the cause for divorce arose in Tennessee, there is no residency requirement.
No Fault: Irreconcilable differences; living separate and apart without cohabitation for two years, if there are no minor children.
Fault: Impotence; Adultery; Incarceration or felony conviction; Alcohol and drug addiction; Wife is pregnant by another at the time of marriage without husband’s knowledge; Willful desertion for one year; Bigamy; Endangering the life of the spouse; Conviction of an infamous crime; Refusing to move to Tennessee with a spouse and willfully absenting oneself from a new residence for two years; Cruel and inhuman treatment; Indignities that make the spouse’s life intolerable; and Abandonment, neglect, or banning the spouse from the home.
Property Division: Tennessee is an equitable-distribution, dual-classification state. That means property is classified as either separate or marital; separate property must go to the property owner, while marital property is divided between the parties “equitably.” Equitable means fairly, based on how the parties acquired and treated the property during the marriage; it does not mean equally. However, the court must divide the property equally unless such a division would be inequitable. The court gives special consideration to the custodial spouse to have the family home and effects (click the following for an expert's overview and key tips on dividing up property through divorce).
Alimony: Either spouse may be required to make allowances for support of the other for his or her life or for a shorter period. Under the alimony statute, the state legislature states that “the contributions to the marriage as homemaker or parent are of equal dignity and importance as economic contributions to the marriage,” and make awards accordingly. Rehabilitative alimony, that is, alimony that is supposed to just help you “get back on your feet” is favored. Transitional alimony is also offered when “the economically disadvantaged spouse needs assistance to adjust to the economic consequences of a divorce, legal separation or other proceeding.”
Child custody and child support: As in all states, child custody is based on “the best interests of the child.” Joint custody is considered in the best interests of the child when the parents have an agreement to that effect or agree in open court. Parents must present a formal parenting plan that covers such issues as how the plan will be modified as the child grows up, how to minimize the conflict between the ex-spouses; how disputes will be resolved; which parent has what authority and responsibility. The court will also consider the preferences of a child 12 years of age and older; the court may also hear preferences of younger children, on request (click the following for an expert's overview and a list of articles on child custody and child support).
Tennessee child-support guidelines have, since July 2008, been based on an income shares model: the total obligation is divided between the mother and father according to their incomes. These figures are rough estimates only (and a minimum of $100 a month is expected).
For a combined adjusted gross monthly income of:
- $2,000, support for one child is $421; for two children, $592; for three children, $685.
- $4,000, support for one child is $742; for two children, $1,027; for three children, $1,175.
- $5,000, support for one child is $823; for two children, $1,122; for three children, $1,266.
Tennessee has an on-line resources to help you figure child support in your case: http://www.state.tn.us/humanserv/is/isdocuments.htm
A complete review of the new regulations and worksheets (which will remind you of doing your taxes, but are much, much worse) are at this link: http://www.state.tn.us/humanserv/is/Documents/1240-02-04.pdf
Child support ends at 18 or when the child completes high school.
The information supplied above is for "educational purposes only" and is not intended to be used as legal advice.