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Emotional Expectations During Divorce And How To Cope

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Here at Fort, Holloway & Rogers we understand that divorce is a scary and unknown new part of your life. We are here to ensure that you are well taken care of and have all the information you need to make this life change as smooth and stress-free as possible.

What are the grounds for divorce in Tennessee?

Grounds are legally acceptable reasons for divorce. A judge can grant a divorce if your spouse:

o   Either party, at the time of the contract, was and still is naturally impotent and incapable of procreation.

o   Either party has knowingly entered a second marriage, in violation of a previous marriage, still subsisting.

o   Either party has committed adultery.

o   Willful or malicious desertion or absence of either party, without a reasonable cause, for one (1) whole year.

o   Being convicted of any crime that, by the laws of the state, renders the party infamous.

o   Being convicted of a crime that, by the laws of the state, is declared to be a felony, and sentenced to confinement in the penitentiary.

o   Either party has attempted the life of the other, by poison or any other means showing malice.

o   Refusal, on the part of a spouse, to remove with that person’s spouse to this state, without a reasonable cause, and being willfully absent from the spouse residing in Tennessee for two (2) years.

o   The woman was pregnant at the time of the marriage, by another person, without the knowledge of the husband.

o   Habitual drunkenness or abuse of narcotic drugs of either party when the spouse has contracted such habit after marriage.

o   The husband or wife is guilty of such cruel and inhuman treatment or conduct towards the spouse as renders cohabitation unsafe and improper, which may also be referred to in pleadings as inappropriate marital conduct.

o   The husband or wife has offered such indignities to the spouse’s person as to render the spouse’s position intolerable, and thereby forced the spouse to withdraw.

o   The husband or wife has abandoned the spouse or turned the spouse out of doors for no just cause and has refused or neglected to provide for the spouse while having the ability to so provide.

o   Irreconcilable differences between the parties; and

o   For a continuous period of two (2) or more years that commenced prior to or after April 18, 1985, both parties have lived in separate residences, have not cohabited as man and wife during such period, and there are no minor children of the parties.

o   A complaint or petition for divorce on any ground for divorce listed in this section must have been on file for sixty (60) days before being heard if the parties have no unmarried child under eighteen (18) years of age and must have been on file at least ninety (90) days before being heard if the parties have an unmarried child under eighteen (18) years of age. The sixty-day or ninety-day period shall commence on the date the complaint or petition is filed.

What are the basic steps for filing for divorce?

While divorce laws vary by state, here are the basic steps that a person may have to follow to obtain a divorce:

  • First, you or your spouse must meet the residency requirements for the state of Tennessee and/or Williamson County.
  • Second, you must have “grounds” (a legally acceptable reason) to end your marriage.
  • Third, you must file the appropriate divorce papers and have copies sent to your spouse – for the exact rules for serving the papers, contact the Williamson County courthouse or one of the lawyers at Fort, Holloway & Rogers.
  • Fourth, if your spouse disagrees with anything in the divorce papers, then s/he will have the opportunity to file papers telling her/his side.  In his/her response, the other party may express his/her opinion challenging the divorce, asking that it be granted under different grounds or letting the judge know that s/he agrees to the divorce.  If your spouse contests the divorce, then you may have a series of court appearances to sort the issues out.  Also, if a certain period passes and your spouse does not sign the papers or file any papers of his/her own, you may be able to proceed with the divorce as an uncontested divorce anyway.  (For questions about how long you must wait to see if your spouse answers before you can continue with the divorce, call Fort, Holloway & Rogers for a consultation.)
  • Fifth, if there are property, assets, a pension, debts, or anything else that you need divided, or if you need financial support from your spouse, then these issues may have to be dealt with during the divorce or else you may lose your chance to deal with these issues.  The issues may be worked out during settlement negotiations and incorporated into the divorce decree or in a series of court hearings during the divorce.  Custody and child support may also be decided as part of your divorce.
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