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Tennessee Divorce Self-Help Center

Many customer Tennessee divorce questions are answered here.  Browse from the topics below or use the search box to narrow your search.
 
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General Information State Procedures   Custody, Visitation, Support
  Property and Debts   Special Circumstances Additional Resources
STATE PROCEDURES
How much is the filing fee in Tennessee? 865
The filing fee charged by the Court is NOT included in the DivorceWriter price. The fee for filing for divorce in Tennessee is typically $150.00-$350.00.
What are the basic steps to getting a divorce in Tennessee? 1027
1) Both spouses review and sign divorce documents.
2) One spouse files the documents.
3) Wait 60 days (90 days if the spouses have minor children together). Note: Some Tennessee counties require the spouse that filed for divorce to attend a brief hearing, usually 15 minutes or less.
4) The filing spouse attends a final hearing, after which the Judge finalizes the divorce.
How do I serve my spouse with the divorce papers in Tennessee? 1026
In place of formal service of process, the Defendant may enter into a written notarized Marital Dissolution Agreement with Plaintiff that makes specific reference to a pending divorce by a court and docket number, or states that the defendant is aware that one will be filed in this state and that the defendant waives further service and waives filing an answer to the complaint.

Such waiver of service shall only be valid for a period of one hundred eighty (180) days from the date the last party signs the Marital Settlement Agreement. Tennessee Code Annotated 36-4-103(a)(2)
How long does it usually take to finalize a divorce in Tennessee? 1023
A Complaint for Divorce on the ground of irreconcilable differences must have been on file for sixty (60) days before the final divorce hearing if the parties have no unmarried child under eighteen (18) years of age and for ninety (90) days before the final divorce hearing if the parties have an unmarried child under eighteen (18) years of age. Tennessee Code Annotated 36-4-103(c)(1)
Will either of us be required to attend a court hearing? 875
The spouse who files for divorce must attend a hearing in order to have the divorce finalized. The presence of the non-filing spouse is not required at the hearing.
What is considered to be the date of separation in Tennessee? 647
The term "separation date" sometimes refers to the date when the spouses stopped living at... more
What are the grounds for filing for divorce in Tennessee? 851
While there are several fault-based grounds for divorce in Tennessee, irreconcilable differences is considered the "no-fault" grounds for divorce. Tennessee Code Annotated 36-4-101(14).

For additional information on grounds for divorce in Tennessee, see Tennessee Code Annotated 36-4-101.
What are the Tennessee residency requirements for filing for divorce? 1010
A divorce may be granted in Tennessee if the cause for the divorce (ex. irreconcilable differences) occurred while the Plaintiff was a resident of Tennessee. Additionally, a divorce may be granted in Tennessee even if the cause for the divorce occurred outside of Tennessee and even if the Plaintiff resided outside of Tennessee at the time, as long as either the Plaintiff or the Defendant is a resident of Tennessee for a period of six (6) months before the divorce is filed. Tennessee Code Annotated 36-4-104(a).

A divorce may be filed in the Circuit Court in the county where the parties resided together at the time of their separation, or in the county where the Defendant resides if the Defendant is a resident of Tennessee. However, if the Defendant is not a resident of Tennessee or is incarcerated, then the divorce can be filed in the county where the Plaintiff resides. Tennessee Code Annotated 36-4-105(a).
Where do I file the divorce documents in Tennessee? 1013
Divorces in Tennessee are most commonly filed in the Circuit Court, although some counties require/allow divorces to be filed in the Chancery Court or General Sessions Court instead. If you aren't sure which court the divorce should be filed in, go to the Circuit Court Clerk?s office and ask if divorces are filed there or in another court.
What documents are included in the self-prepared Tennessee DivorceWriter package? 3844

If you purchase a DivorceWriter Tennessee divorce, you are selecting the following forms:

  • Complaint for Absolute Divorce or Request for Divorce (Complaint)
  • Spouses' Personal Information or Both Parties' Personal Information Form
  • Health Insurance Notice or Notice Regarding Insurance Coverage
  • Marital Dissolution Agreement
  • Final Decree
  • Restraining Order for Divorcing Spouses
  • Notice of Hearing to Approve Irreconcilable Differences

If you indicate that you have minor children, you are also selecting these additional forms:

  • Restraining Order for Divorcing Spouses (Statutory Injunction)
  • Both Parties' Personal Information
  • Permanent Parenting Plan
  • Child Support Worksheet
  • Title IV-D Information
  • Wage Assignment Order
  • Notice of Hearing to Approve Irreconcilable Differences Divorce

If you indicate you don't own buildings or land or a business together or have retirement benefits, you are selecting the Tennessee Supreme Court approved forms; blank versions of these forms are available to download at no charge from www.tncourts.gov website.

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CUSTODY, VISITATION, SUPPORT
How is child support calculated in Tennessee? 2087
Based on the information provided by the customer when completing the Tennessee online interview, a computer generated Child Support Worksheet is automatically created and sent to the customer as part of the DivorceWriter package. See Tennessee Child Support Guidelines for additional information on child support calculation in Tennessee.
What if we want child support payments made to the Child Support Services Division of the Tennessee Department of Human Services? 3805
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), P.L. 104-193, required all states to establish and operate a centralized unit to collect and disburse any support collected for cases in which support is being enforced under the provisions of Title IV-D of the Social Security Act. These are referred to as IV-D child support cases.

Payments for other child support cases (non-IV-D cases) must also be collected and disbursed by the Centralized Collections Unit (CCU) if the initial support order was issued on or after January 1, 1994 and the payments are being made by income assignment. The Tennessee Department of Human Services implemented the CCU on October 1, 1999. If you want to file a Wage Assignment Order, DivorceWriter will e-mail one to you at no additional charge. Send you request to info@divorcewriter.com. More information about the Child Support Services Division is available at here.
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PROPERTY AND DEBTS
What options do we have for our real estate? 1887
The DivorceWriter online interview provides an array of options for disposing of your real... more
Can I use DivorceWriter in Tennessee if we have retirement plans, real estate and/or a business? 3841
Yes. DivorceWriter customers that enter any retirement plans, real property and/or businesses in their online interviews automatically receive different documents than those available on the Tennessee court website. Although anyone is entitled to file for divorce without an attorney, regardless of the property they have, we understand that Court Clerks' offices may provide information to the contrary or may otherwise discourage people from filing for divorce without an attorney. The final determination as to whether the documents are correct is to be made by the judge assigned to the case.
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SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
What if one spouse is in the military? 1011
If both parties are willing to sign the papers, ending your marriage when a spouse is in the military is generally much like a regular divorce, although there may be as many as three possible jurisdictions where the dissolution or divorce can be filed:
  • The legal residence of the military member
  • The legal residence of the spouse
  • The state where the servicemember is stationed

Typically, either you or your spouse must reside in Tennessee or be stationed there in order to file for dissolution or divorce there. For additional information on residency requirements, the servicemember may wish to contact his or her local JAG office.

Any person in the armed services of the United States, or the spouse of any such person, who has been living in Tennessee for a period of not less than one (1) year shall be presumed to be a resident of Tennessee.

See Tennessee Code Annotated 36-4-104(b).
What if one spouse is living in a foreign country? 903
If your spouse is able to receive documents in the mail and is willing to sign and return ... more
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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Where can I find the full-text version of the Tennessee divorce statutes online? 883
Tennessee State Divorce Laws
Tennessee Code Title 36 Chapters 4-6
Are free divorce forms available in Tennessee? 3845

Yes, the Tennessee Supreme Court has created a set of forms that are accepted throughout Tennessee. To use these forms you and your spouse can not own buildings or land or have a business together or have retirement benefits. Blank versions of these forms are available to download at no charge from www.tncourts.gov website.

If the forms are filled out correctly, all Tennessee courts that hear divorce cases must accept the forms.

You will still need to pay the court filing fee when using these forms.

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