Grounds for Divorce in Tennessee

In Tennessee, the two most common grounds for divorce are Irreconcilable Differences and Inappropriate Marital Conduct.

The ground of Irreconcilable Differences is used when the parties agree on all the issues in their divorce.  This can occur at mediation, or simply by settlement discussions between the parties and their attorneys (if any).  A divorce on the grounds of Irreconcilable Differences will involve the preparation of a Marital Dissolution Agreement and, if the parties have children, a Permanent Parenting Plan.

Inappropriate Marital Conduct is the second most common ground for divorce.  This is a general catch-all ground, and can include any type of misconduct which makes cohabitation unacceptable.  If you have been served with a divorce complaint, do not necessarily be alarmed if it alleges Inappropriate Marital Conduct.  Most complaints include this as a ground in case the parties are unable to settle the divorce. If this ground is not alleged in the original Complaint for divorce, the spouse filing for divorce would have to incur additional attorney fees to amend their Complaint, if negotiations break down.

The other statutory grounds for divorce in Tennessee are:

  • Impotence and inability to procreate since the time of the marriage,
  • Bigamy,
  • Adultery,
  • Desertion without cause for one year,
  • Conviction of an infamous crime or felony,
  • Attempted the life of the other by poison or other means,
  • Refusal to move to Tennessee without cause for two years,
  • Wife was pregnant at the time of marriage by another person without her husband’s knowledge,
  • Habitual drunkenness or abuse of narcotics (if began after the marriage),
  • Indignities to the spouse’s person,
  • Abandonment and refusal to provide for spouse, and
  • Separation for two years if there are no minor children.