Friday, November 13, 2009

Barnette Law Offices – Tennessee Divorce Attorney’s

Tennessee has two types of divorces: uncontested, (which are usually based on irreconcilable differences), and contested, (which require proof of grounds for divorce).

An irreconcilable differences divorce requires that the parties agree to be divorced. You must have a written Marital Dissolution Agreement that makes adequate and sufficient provisions in writing for the custody and support of the minor children of the marriage and makes a fair and equitable division of your property. There are also additional technical requirements, but the Marital Dissolution Agreement is the essence of an irreconcilable differences divorce.

As for assessing fault for the marriage breakdown, you only need to say that differences have arisen that will prevent you from living together as husband and wife.

A traditional contested divorce is a case in which the parties cannot agree on some point such as property division, alimony, custody, child support, or attorney's fees and must go to trial or mediation (see Barnette Law Offices, LLC for both). The fault grounds for a contested divorce are:

  • Adultery
  • Habitual drunkenness or abuse of narcotic drugs
  • Living separately and apart for two (2) years with no minor children
  • Willful or malicious desertion for one (1) full year without a reasonable cause
  • Conviction of a felony and sentencing to the penitentiary or conviction of an infamous crime
  • Pregnancy of the wife by another before the marriage without the husband's knowledge
  • Willful refusal to move to Tennessee with your spouse and living apart for two (2) years
  • Malicious attempt upon the life of the other
  • Lack of reconciliation for two (2) years after the entry of a decree of separate maintenance
  • Impotency and sterility
  • Bigamy
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment; e.g., "inappropriate marital conduct"
  • Indignities offered by one spouse to the other
  • Abandonment of the wife in which the husband refuses or neglects to provide for her

If you are filing for divorce, you need to have your grounds before you file. If you cannot prove your grounds for divorce, accusing your spouse of these grounds may be grounds for divorce for your spouse. Pending the final divorce, you should not do anything to give your spouse any grounds for divorce because these actions can probably be used against you.

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Defenses to the grounds for divorce include:

Condonation—knowing what your spouse did wrong but forgiving him or her anyway; this is usually proven by showing that you and your spouse had sexual relations after you found out what your spouse did. This currently only applies to adultery.

Insanity—a defense to divorce if the person who is guilty of the grounds for divorce was insane when he or she committed the act. The insanity must be to the same degree as in a criminal case. If the person is insane at the time of trial, the case can still proceed against him or her but the court will appoint a lawyer to look after his or her interest.

The law of defenses is changing rapidly, and for technical reasons the defense that sounds as though it applies in your case might not apply. Contact Jason Barnette, Esq. if you are seeking either a contested or non-contested divorce.


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