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Contested versus Uncontested Divorce in Tennessee

March 8, 2018
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divorce-in-tennesseeThere are two types of divorce in Tennessee: contested and uncontested. In this post, we will discuss the key differences between contested and uncontested divorces to help you decide which type of divorce is best for you.

Uncontested Divorce in Tennessee

Uncontested divorces, also known as agreed divorces or simplified divorces, are divorces which are settled outside of the courtroom. To qualify for an uncontested divorce, both parties must come to an agreement on all terms outside of court, which results in a more streamlined process that moves more quickly and is cheaper than the contested divorce process.

To qualify for an uncontested divorce in the state of Tennessee, both spouses must be in agreement about wanting to dissolve the marriage, and at least one spouse must have resided in the state for a minimum of six months. Typically, uncontested divorces are due to no-fault grounds of divorce, which can include irreconcilable differences or not residing together for at least two years.

One of the main benefits of an uncontested divorce is that the process is much faster than with contested divorces. For couples with no minor children, an uncontested divorce can be granted within sixty days of filing for divorce. However, couples with children under the age of 18 are required to wait a full 90 days, and also must come to an agreement on a Permanent Parenting Plan.

In order to be granted a divorce in Tennessee, couples seeking an uncontested divorce are required to agree upon a written marital dissolution agreement. This document lays out a plan for the division of marital assets as well as marital debts.

Overall, an uncontested divorce is much faster and less expensive than a contested divorce, and also allows both spouses to maintain their personal privacy throughout the divorce proceedings.

Contested Divorce in Tennessee

Although there are many benefits to an uncontested divorce it is not always an option for couples going through a divorce. Unlike an uncontested divorce, a contested divorce occurs when both parties do not agree on the terms of divorce and must be settled in court. This can be because of one or many reasons, with some of the most common issues of disagreement centering around the division of property, child custody, child support, alimony, and asset distribution.

When filing for a contested divorce in Tennessee, the plaintiff must also state a reason for the divorce, also known as the grounds for divorce. Some of the most common grounds for divorce include:

  • Adultery
  • Conviction of a felony
  • Habitual drunkenness or drug abuse
  • Residing separately for at least two years (in case of no minor children)
  • Impotence
  • Any attempt to end the life of the other spouse
  • Bigamy
  • Abandonment, neglect, or refusal
  • Inappropriate marital conduct
  • Inhumane/cruel treatment
  • Making the life of the other spouse intolerable
  • Refusal to relocate and reside in the state of Tennessee with a spouse
  • Willfully or maliciously deserting one’s spouse for a year or longer with no reasonable cause
  • Conviction of a crime considered infamous
  • Pregnancy of the wife by an outside party that the husband was unaware of when entering into the marriage contract

The spouse alleging the behavior is also required to present evidence to a judge to prove the grounds for divorce in court. This process alone can take six months or more.

As you can see the process of filing for a contested divorce in Tennessee can be long, costly, and emotionally distressing compared to an uncontested divorce. No matter which type of divorce you choose, it is important to consult with a qualified divorce attorney that can look out for your best interest and advise on the best course of action for your situation to ensure the best possible outcome.

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