Requirements for Divorce in Tennessee

Like with all states, there are certain requirements to be met before a divorce can be finalized in Tennessee. The main focus on this article is on what is required to get a divorce filed. This article assumes that you are the Plaintiff “person looking to file the divorce.”

Residency Requirements

If the acts for the divorce occurred while you were a resident of Tennessee, but no longer live in Tennessee, then you have jurisdiction to bring the filing of the divorce. If the acts complained of occurred outside the state of Tennessee, then either you or the other party must have resided her at least 6 months preceding the filing of the divorce.

It’s important to not that if the acts occurred outside of Tennessee and you are the party living in Tennessee, the only way you would have jurisdiction is for the other party to agree to jurisdiction in Tennessee.


Venue deals with the location “court and county” to file in. Each county is a little different, but the court will be either Chancery or Circuit courts. You’ll just need to check with your county to see which court is proper for your divorce. Some counties, you can file in either Chancery or Circuit court. One example is Rutherford County. Both courts there have jurisdiction for divorce. You can only choose the County that is the proper venue. This will be the county where the parties resided at the time of separation, or the county in which the Defendant is currently residing, or in the county you reside if Defendant is out of state.


A divorce is a lawsuit and as with any lawsuit, there needs to be grounds to do so. There is a list of grounds for divorce at Tennessee Code Annotated 36-4-101. This statute list a host of fault grounds such as adultery, inappropriate marital conduct, and desertion. For the fault grounds, you will have to prove these. There is also a no fault ground which is irreconcilable differences. With this ground, you and your spouse simply agree that your marriage cannot be saved. See our other articles dealing with specific grounds.


Waiting Period

The waiting period, sometimes referred to as the “cooling off period,” refers to the time from filing of the divorce to the time the divorce can be granted. If there are children born of the marriage and still under 18 years old, then the waiting period is 90 days. If no children born of the marriage or if the children are now over 18, then it is 60 days.