Does it matter who is at fault in a divorce?

Divorce Attorneys - Knoxville, Tennessee

Overview of the grounds for divorce in the Tennessee Courts

Tennessee has two different types of divorces:

Uncontested divorce which is normally based on irreconcilable differences and contested divorce which requires proof of grounds for a divorce.

Irreconcilable differences divorce requires that both parties agree to the divorce, and both parties agree to wait ninety (90) days or sixty (60) days if there are no children to divorce. In addition, you must have a written Marital Dissolution Agreement that divides your property fairly and equitably. If you have children you must also have a Parenting Plan that makes arrangements in writing for the custody and support of the minor children in the marriage.

It is oftentimes more expedient to file for an uncontested or “irreconcilable differences” divorce. 

As for assessing fault for a marriage – you only need to say that differences have come to light that will prevent you from living together in the future as husband and wife.

**Fault in a divorce does not prevent or allow you to obtain a divorce. Fault does have a role in establishing custody and parenting time and the award of attorney’s fees – call us to learn more. 

Contested Divorce in most cases is a divorce is brought upon under contested circumstances because of the actions of one or more of the parties.  In Tennessee this is called a “contested divorce” and it is based upon the argument that one party did something “wrong” and therefore has fault for causing the breakdown in the marital relationship.

A contested divorce occurs when the parties cannot agree and therefore must go to trial. 

**It is important to understand what grounds the courts of Tennessee will recognize in assigning fault. 

Grounds for a contested divorce are: 

  • Abandonment
  • Adultery
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Bigamy
  • Felony conviction and jail sentencing
  • Impotence / Sterility
  • Inappropriate marital conduct / Cruel inhuman treatment
  • Indignities offered by one spouse to the other
  • Living separately for two years with NO minor children
  • Malicious attempt on your spouse’s life
  • Pregnancy of the wife by another before the marriage without the husband’s knowledge
  • Refusal or neglect of providing for spouse
  • Refusal to reside in Tennessee w/ your spouse / living apart for two years
  • Willful malicious desertion for one year without reasonable cause

Attorney Ben Barnett has been recognized as a CITYVIEW MAGAZINE top divorce attorney (2018, 2019 & 2020) because he understands that not all divorces involve fault. When divorces DO involve fault, he understands the relevant law and knows how to use it in aggressively pursuing and protecting his client’s best interests. 

If you have questions, we want to help provide you with answers and we invite you to a free phone or video consultation to discuss your best options when considering whether or not file for a contested or uncontested divorce! CALL OR EMAIL US TODAY FOR HELP!