Divorce in Tennessee – Your Complete Guide

divorce in tennessee
Worthy Staff

By Worthy Staff | Aug 1st, 2019

The prospect of going through divorce proceedings can be more than a little overwhelming. Knowing what to expect as you make your way through the Tennessee divorce process can help put worries to rest and prepare you for court. Tennessee divorces take an average of two to six months to complete once the mandatory post-filing cooling-off period comes to an end.

Basics of Tennessee Divorce Law

To file for divorce in Tennessee, you and/or your spouse must normally have a six-month history of living in the state. In cases where abuse has occurred or if there is another emergency, the court may decide to allow you to file sooner, without the six-month residency requirement. 

After filling out and filing divorce papers on your own or with the help of an attorney, a process server or sheriff will serve your spouse if you are not comfortable serving divorce papers on your own. Alternately, you may send copies of your Tennessee divorce papers to your spouse’s residence via certified mail, or the court may allow you to publish a notice in a newspaper in the area where your spouse lives. 

The cost of having divorce papers served is generally under $75 however it may be as much as $100 or more depending on the method you use. 

What are the Grounds for Divorce in Tennessee?  

Tennessee is unique, as it allows divorce on your choice of fault or no-fault grounds. As in many other states, the grounds for no-fault divorce may be irreconcilable differences or, if you have no children, living separate and apart for at least two years.

Fault grounds for divorce include the following. 

What is the Mandatory Cooling Off Period in Tennessee? 

After filing for divorce, a mandatory cooling-off period goes into effect. Couples who have no children must wait 60 days to proceed with the division of property, and those with children must wait 90 days to move forward with their cases. Mutual consent, no-fault divorces take the least time to finalize after the cooling-off period ends, usually between two and six months. All others take longer depending on extenuating circumstances such as the division of property, division of a pension, or issues surrounding child custody and/or visitation.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Tennessee Divorce?

If you and your spouse agree on all aspects of the divorce and there is no fault, you may find that proceedings are simple to complete without help from a lawyer. The state provides Tennessee divorce forms on its website, which may help you decide whether to proceed without legal assistance or to obtain help with complicated issues by at least consulting with a lawyer or seeking help from a mediator.

Since Tennessee courts usually distribute marital property and debt equitably (fairly, but not always equally), you may want to seek assistance from a lawyer if you have mitigating circumstances, or if you have any concerns about property division or child custody. Additionally, the more assets and/or debt you have, the more important it is to seek legal counsel.

Insights From Jumping In: Dating After Divorce in 2019

In 2019, Worthy conducted a study on how divorce women approach divorce and dating in today’s world.

Age of Today’s Divorced Woman
Of the women we surveyed, 42% divorced between the ages of 35-44 and 28% between 45-54, indicating that midlife is the most common time for marriages to break up. Only 9% divorced after the age of 55 and the younger women, 34 and under, made up 22%.

Divorce Proceedings in the 21st Century
We asked our participants to share what legal processes they were familiar with for divorce. Litigation (53%) and mediation (48%) were at the top of the list but many were also familiar with alternative routes such as low-conflict collaborative divorce (25%). Services like working with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst are much less well-known (5%).

Divorce Finances 101
When it came to the big issues, the majority of women felt sufficiently informed to make decisions. This included issues like health insurance (60%) and the marital house (56%). However, when it came to issues outside of the immediate household, such as taxes, the participants felt less informed.Reusable Block

Dating After Divorce
Dating is at the forefront of many divorcees’ minds. 78% of the women have already started thinking about dating by the time the divorce papers are signed. 40% of women feel confident about dating after divorce, 68% feel excited and hopeful. 59% of divorced women meet dates on online dating websites or apps.

Getting Divorced The Better Way

Divorce can be a complicated, draining and expensive process, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking to file for an uncontested divorce in California, do it the easy way with our friends at It’s Over Easy, the only online divorce solution that guides you through every aspect of your case, founded by celebrity divorce lawyer Laura A. Wasser. 

“After practicing Family Law for over 20 years I came to realize that people deserve a better way to get divorced. I founded It’s Over Easy to give people a high-quality, less expensive & more amicable option. Our platform takes the user through the entire dissolution process. We provide information and support along the way through our content on our Insights Blog, the Divorce Sucks! Podcast and The Index, our curated professional and lifestyle resource guide. Divorce is difficult but the legal part shouldn’t have to be.” 
–Laura A. Wasser

Focus Area OrganizationWebsite

National Association of
Divorce Professionals


Certified Divorced


Association of
Financial Planners



Divorce process guide for main US states

Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice on any subject matter. Consult with an attorney for more information regarding your individual situation.

Worthy Staff

Worthy Staff

The Worthy Blog is a place for inspiration, insight, and advice for all things surrounding life's greatest transitions - divorce, losing a loved one, retirement, and so much more. You can find us on our blog, Instagram, and Facebook.


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