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Tennessee Information

Grounds for Divorce in Tennessee

Section 36-4-101 of the Tennessee Code sets forth 15 grounds for divorce in Tennessee. These grounds include:

  1. Either party, at the time of the contract, was and still is naturally impotent and incapable of procreation;
  2. Either party has knowingly entered into a second marriage, in violation of a previous marriage, still subsisting;
  3. Either party has committed adultery;
  4. Willful or malicious desertion or absence of either party, without a reasonable cause, for one (1) whole year;
  5. Being convicted of any crime that, by the laws of the state, renders the party infamous;
  6. 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;
  7. Either party has attempted the life of the other, by poison or any other means showing malice;
  8. 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;
  9. The woman was pregnant at the time of the marriage, by another person, without the knowledge of the husband;
  10. Habitual drunkenness or abuse of narcotic drugs of either party, when the spouse has contracted either such habit after marriage;
  11. 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;
  12. 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;
  13. 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;
  14. Irreconcilable differences between the parties; and
  15. 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.

The ground of irreconcilable differences (# 14 above) constitutes a “no fault” divorce, and is often the most appropriate grounds for cases in which both parties are in agreement as to the end of their marriage.

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