I’ve been getting a lot of calls about this issue again so I am revisiting it as we now have a lot of new transplants in Middle Tennessee. Tennessee does not have a true no fault divorce like other jurisdictions. The Tennessee equivalent to a no fault divorce is a divorce on the grounds of Irreconcilable Differences. This is not a true no fault divorce because a divorce on the grounds of Irreconcilable Differences is only available if you are able to enter into a full and complete settlement. This means if you are going to proceed on Irreconcilable Differences as your grounds, you must also enter into a Marital Dissolution Agreement and, if there are children involved, a Parenting Plan with accompanying child support worksheet. This can be a big deal for some people who really feel like their spouse has not done anything wrong but they just can’t be married to them anymore. Further, if you only plead Irreconcilable Differences a good divorce attorney will be able to take advantage of this when it comes to relevant discovery and other matters.
The limitations regarding no fault divorce in Tennessee is why many Tennessee divorce lawyers will plead Irreconcilable Differences and Inappropriate Marital Conduct. Although the words in the statute are scary and intimidating for this ground. The actual language for Inappropriate Marital Conduct is “cruel and inhuman treatment or conduct towards the spouse as renders cohabitation unsafe and improper.” However, that can mean anything from being financially incompatible, coming home late, or working too much and is used as a catchall in many divorces where neither party was necessarily a significantly bad actor but the parties may not be able to reach an agreement. At trial, the parties are able to stipulate to grounds and say that both parties probably did something at some point, and this will allow them to get a divorce if they are in agreement, but otherwise technically you must show inappropriate marital conduct or you cannot be granted a divorce still in Tennessee without an agreement. The more you know!
Dealing with divorce? Call to set up a consultation with Nashville divorce attorney Morgan Smith at (615) 620-5848. We serve Middle Tennessee and primarily Davidson, Sumner, and Williamson counties.