What to Know Grounds for Divorce in Tennessee

What to Know: Grounds for Divorce in Tennessee

Couples desiring to dissolve their marriage have a few options when determining the grounds for their divorce. Grounds are the basis or reasons specified by the law to justify seeking a decision from a court or judge. Legal grounds for divorce vary by state. In Tennesse, a divorce can be granted as a no-fault or fault-based divorce.

Read on to learn more about the grounds for divorce in Tennessee.

No-Fault Grounds for Divorce

With a no-fault divorce settlement, both parties agree they have irreconcilable differences; therefore, the marriage is over. If either party disagrees, the divorce becomes fault-based, and fault grounds must be proven. Another reason for a no-fault grounds divorce involves a couple with no minor children living separately for more than two years with no cohabitation.

Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce

Fault-based grounds for divorce involve evidence, guilt, and assigning blame.

Inappropriate Marital Conduct

It is considered inappropriate marital conduct when a spouse causes pain, anguish, or distress, making continued cohabitation intolerable or unendurable. Some examples of inappropriate marital conduct include physical, emotional, and verbal abuse, failure to provide a home and basic needs, and various forms of financial abuse.


If either party has sexual relations with someone other than their spouse, they have committed adultery. Filing for divorce on the grounds of adultery involves providing evidence that extramarital sexual intercourse occurred.

Desertion for One Full Year

If one party willfully deserts or abandons the other for at least one year, the other party has grounds for divorce. Willful desertion involves one spouse leaving, cutting off communication, not revealing their location or other abandonment behaviors.


Similar to desertion in that one spouse may leave the other but different in that this also includes situations where one spouse kicks the other out with no just cause. Another example of abandonment is the refusal to provide when your spouse cannot provide for themselves.

Conviction of a Crime

If one party is convicted of a crime making them infamous, subject to severe public condemnation, or is charged and convicted of a felony, like murder.

Alcohol or Drug Abuse

Habitual drunkenness, alcohol, or drug abuse are grounds for divorce if the petitioning party was unaware of the issue before getting married.

Attempted Murder

If one spouse attempts to murder the other by deliberate or malicious means


Tennessee law states you cannot knowingly marry more than one person. If one party finds their spouse is married to another person, it is grounds for divorce.

Refusal to Move to Tennessee

If a spouse refuses to move to Tennessee without reasonable cause, rendering them willfully absent from their spouse’s home in Tennessee for two years, it is considered a refusal to move and grounds for divorce.

Infertility, Inability to Procreate

It is grounds for divorce if either spouse was and still is incapable of procreation at the time of their marriage.

Pregnancy by Someone Other than Spouse

Pregnancy by another person without the knowledge of their spouse at the time of the marriage is grounds for divorce.

Contact Attorney Ryan Johnson

There are many causes of divorce. When a party finds fault in the other, the accusing party must prove one of the at-fault divorce grounds to effectively dissolve the marriage. It is imperative to have legal representation during a divorce. If you are seeking a divorce in the Nashville, Tennessee, area, contact me today to schedule an appointment.

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