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Nashville Divorce Attorney Guides You Through the Process

Experienced and attentive lawyer works to secure your future

If you have decided to dissolve your marriage, or your spouse has served you with divorce papers, you may have many questions about your rights and the legal process. When you come to WalshLaw for answers, you can rely on my knowledge, based on more than 15 years of experience, and my determination to help in every way possible. Having been through a divorce myself, I understand the anxiety that often comes at the end of a marriage. I help you focus on the future, identify important goals for you and your family, and implement an effective strategy to achieve those goals.

Important facts about Tennessee divorce

To file for divorce in Tennessee, either the plaintiff spouse or the defendant spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least six months. However, if the plaintiff is suing for divorce because of conduct that occurred while he or she was a resident of the state, the six-month minimum does not apply. Special procedural rules apply when the defendant is a nonresident of Tennessee.

There is a 60-day waiting period after filing for couples who have no minor children, and a 90-day waiting period for couples with minor children. Many couples are able to use this period to reach a settlement through negotiation or mediation, and they can then present a signed agreement to the court and avoid a hearing. This is known as an uncontested divorce, and it can save a considerable amount of time, stress and expense.

A plaintiff can file for a no-fault divorce by citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for the dissolution. A plaintiff may also allege traditional fault grounds for the divorce. Tennessee law allows for 14 fault grounds, including:

  • Adultery
  • Abandonment
  • Bigamy
  • Conviction of an “infamous” crime
  • Habitual drunkenness or drug abuse
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment

In a fault divorce, the plaintiff must present evidence of the offending conduct. Even if the defendant spouse admits fault, the court will hear the plaintiff’s evidence. Before the court can issue a decree dissolving the marriage, the couple must reach a settlement on the issues of alimony, child custody, child support, and property division, or try those issues before the judge.

Many clients wonder how long a Tennessee divorce typically takes. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to that question, because every couple and every case is different. Factors that can extend divorce proceedings include complex finances, disagreements about parenting, and personal animus. In general, divorces between spouses who can reasonably cooperate go more quickly and smoothly than divorces between antagonistic spouses.  It’s important to get reliable advice before you begin your divorce so you can choose the most effective path forward.

How is property divided in a Tennessee divorce?

Tennessee is an equitable distribution state, which means each party gets to keep their separate property, but marital property gets divided in a manner that is fair, but not necessarily equal. Equitable distribution is a three-step process, involving:

  • Identification and classification — Each party discloses their assets and debts, and then each states whether the property is separate or marital. Disputes often arise when one spouse suspects the other is hiding marital assets or claiming marital assets as separate property.
  • Valuation — Each item in the marital estate is assigned an assessed value. Parties often have differing opinions about the value of assets, such as real estate, stock portfolios, stock options, business holdings, fine art, jewelry and other items. We often consult experts in relevant fields to get accurate assessments.
  • Distribution — The court considers numerous statutory factors to determine the appropriate portion of the estate that each party should receive and then allocates property to each. In most divorces, the family home is the couple’s greatest asset, and its value dwarfs their other holdings. This can make an outright award of the house to one spouse impossible. However, the court can award possession of the house to one party, especially if there are minor children who would benefit from the stability of remaining in their home. In cases such as this, the other spouse needs determined representation to avoid an adverse ruling that could cause undue financial hardship.

A prenuptial agreement is very often a factor in the equitable distribution process, especially when it comes to the classification of assets as separate or marital. Parties hoping to invalidate a prenup to get a greater portion of the estate have an uphill climb if they had freely entered into the agreement.

In my family law practice, I have handled many contentious divorces where I fought hard to protect my client’s parental rights and property rights. You can rely on my experience and determination with your divorce as well.

Contact my Nashville, TN office for a divorce consultation

WalshLaw provides honest counsel and zealous advocacy in Tennessee divorce proceedings. To schedule a consultation, call 615-240-7457 or contact my Nashville office online. My office is located at 4535 Harding Pike, just west of White Bridge Pike and Woodmont Boulevard.

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Office Location
  • Nashville Office
    4535 Harding Pike
    Suite 108
    Nashville, Tennessee 37205
    Phone: 615-915-0760
    Fax: 877-297-7310