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What Exactly Is A Contested Divorce?

What exactly is a contested divorce?

It was love at first sight. When the two of you locked eyes, you knew. The courtship was sweet and romantic and when the two of you said, “I do” you both genuinely believed it was for a lifetime. You settled into married life and had a couple of kids, but things changed–almost imperceptibly at first. Suddenly your spouse started withdrawing.

The close conversations you used to have became less and less frequent. Where alcohol was never a part of your lives before, suddenly there is beer and wine and whiskey and you worry about raising kids that way. Where sweet talk and tenderness once prevailed, it has now been replaced with anger, hostility and nasty remarks. You worry it could end up with you or the kids being hit–or worse.

Can I get a divorce if I my spouse won’t agree?

Maybe it’s time to cut the cord and move on. Your spouse won’t go to counseling, so you have gone alone. You have tried to make it work. You want a better life. So when you approach your spouse and ask for a divorce, you are shocked when the answer is a resounding no. You wonder, what are my options now?

While it may feel like you have none–you can, in fact, seek help from the courts. Tennessee has both no-fault and at-fault divorce. If your spouse will not agree to end the marriage, you can file for dissolution if one of the following applies:

  • Your spouse has entered another marriage without benefit of getting a divorce
  • Your spouse has had an affair
  • Your spouse has deserted/abandoned you or refused to support you
  • Your spouse is infertile or impotent
  • Your spouse has an addiction that began after the marriage
  • You have no children and have lived apart for at least two years
  • Your spouse has attempted to kill you
  • Your spouse was pregnant by another person at marriage and you had no knowledge of it
  • Your spouse has been convicted of a felony
  • Your spouse refuses to move to Tennessee and you have lived apart for at least two years
  • Your spouse is emotionally or physically abusive

If you are seeking a divorce on one of these grounds, you will have to prove that the conduct exists. The good news, however, is that you have the right to seek legal representation during the process and have the option of seeking additional services, such as an investigator, to help bolster your case.

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