Dissolution of marriage in Florida is legally referred to as Divorce from the Bonds of Matrimony or Absolute Divorce.
A Plaintiff (filing party) may file for divorce in Tennessee if the acts complained of were committed while he/she was a bona fide resident of the state. If the acts complained of were committed outside of the state and the Plaintiff resided out of state at the time, he/she may file for divorce if either the Plaintiff or the Defendant (non-filing party) has resided in Tennessee for six months prior to filing the Complaint.
Any person in the armed services of the U.S., or his/her spouse, who has been living in the state for at one year shall be presumed to be a resident of the state, and the presumption of residence shall be overcome only by clear and convincing evidence of a residence elsewhere.
A Bill or Petition for Divorce may be filed in the chancery or circuit court or other court having divorce jurisdiction, in the county where the parties reside at the time of their separation, or in which the Defendant resides, if a resident of the state; but if the Defendant is a nonresident of the state or a convict, then in the county where the applicant resides.
A Complaint or Petition for divorce must have been on file for at least 60 days before being heard if the parties have no unmarried children under 18 years of age, and must have been on file at least 90 days before being heard if the parties have an unmarried child under 18 years of age. The 60 or 90 day period commences on the date the Complaint or Petition is filed.
In all divorce actions alleging irreconcilable differences, if the Defendant is a nonresident, personal service may be accomplished upon the secretary of the state. Alternatively, in place of service of process, the Defendant may enter into a written notarized marital dissolution agreement with the Plaintiff that makes specific reference to a pending divorce by a court and docket number, states that the Defendant is aware that one will be filed in this state and that he/she waives further service and waives filing an answer to the Complaint.
There is no statutory provision for the restoration of a spouse's name after divorce. However, case law provides that a wife may resume the use of her former or maiden name by making the request in the divorce complaint. The restoration of the spouse's name is typically part of the divorce decree.
The following are statutory grounds for divorce from the bonds of matrimony in Tennessee:
No divorce shall be granted on the ground of irreconcilable differences unless the court affirmatively finds in its decree that the parties have made adequate and sufficient provision by written agreement for the custody and maintenance of any children of that marriage and for the equitable settlement of any property rights between the parties.
Irreconcilable differences may be asserted as a sole ground for divorce or as an alternate ground for divorce with any other cause for divorce.
Even if a Defendant admits to a fault-based ground in a Bill or Petition, before decreeing a divorce, the court shall hear proof of the facts alleged and either dismiss the Bill or Petition, or grant the divorce, as the justice of the case may require.
The legal union in matrimony of only one man and one woman shall be the only recognized marriage in Tennessee. If another state or foreign jurisdiction issues a license for persons to marry, which is prohibited in Tennessee, it shall be void and unenforceable in this state.
Tennessee case law shows that the state also permits annulment for other grounds, such as incurable insanity, impotence and pregnancy by another man at the time of marriage without the husband's knowledge, as well as entering into marriage due to force, fraud or duress.
Tennessee is an equitable distribution state. In all actions for divorce or legal separation, upon request of either party, the court having jurisdiction may equitably divide, distribute, or assign the marital property between the parties without regard to marital fault in proportions as the court deems fair. The court shall do so prior to any determination as to whether it is appropriate to order the support and maintenance of one party by the other.
The court has the power to enforce its decree by divesting and reinvesting title to such property and, where deemed necessary, to order a sale of such property and to order the proceeds divided between the parties.
Marital property is legally defined as all real and personal property, both tangible and intangible, acquired by either or both spouses during the course of the marriage up to the date of the final divorce hearing and owned by either or both spouses as of the date of filing of a Complaint for Divorce, except in the case of fraudulent conveyance in anticipation of filing, and including any property to which a right was acquired up to the date of the final divorce hearing, and valued as of a date as near as reasonably possible to the final divorce hearing date.
Marital property includes income from, and any increase in value during the marriage of property determined to be separate property if each party substantially contributed to its preservation and appreciation, and the value of vested and unvested pension, vest and unvested stock option rights, retirement or other fringe benefits relating to employment that accrued during the period of marriage.
Marital property also includes recovery in personal injury, workers' compensation, social security disability actions, and other similar actions for the following: wages lost during the marriage, reimbursement for medical bills incurred and paid with marital property, and property damage to marital property.
Separate property is legally defined as follows:
When making a determination for equitable division of marital property, the court shall consider the following factors:
The court may award the family home and household effects, or the right to live there and use the household effects for a reasonable period, to either party, but shall give special consideration to a spouse having physical custody of a child(ren) of the marriage.
The court may provide that any distributive award payable over a period of time be secured by a lien on specific property.
In any action for divorce, legal separation or separate maintenance, the court may award alimony to be paid by one spouse to or for the benefit of the other, or out of either spouse's property, according to the nature of the case and the circumstances of the parties.
The court may award rehabilitative alimony, alimony in futuro (periodic alimony), transitional alimony, alimony in solido (lump sum alimony), or a combination of these.
Rehabilitative alimony is a separate class of spousal support, as distinguished from the other types of alimony that a court may award. It is intended to rehabilitate a spouse who is economically disadvantaged relative to the other spouse. To be rehabilitated means to achieve, with reasonable effort, an earning capacity that will permit the receiving spouse's standard of living after the divorce to be reasonably comparable to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, or to the post-divorce standard of living expected to be available to the other spouse, considering the relevant statutory factors and the equities between the parties.
An award of alimony in futuro or periodic alimony is a payment for support and maintenance on a long term basis or until death or remarriage of the recipient. It may be made, either in addition to an award of rehabilitative alimony, where a spouse may be only partially rehabilitated, or instead of an award of rehabilitative alimony, where rehabilitation is not feasible.
Alimony in futuro may be awarded when the court finds there is relative economic disadvantage and that rehabilitation is not feasible, meaning that the disadvantaged spouse is unable to achieve, with reasonable effort, an earning capacity that will permit the spouse's standard of living after the divorce to be reasonably comparable to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, or to the post-divorce standard of living expected to be available to the other spouse.
Transitional alimony means a sum of money payable by one party to, or on behalf of, the other party for a determinate period of time. It is awarded when the court finds that rehabilitation is not necessary, but the economically disadvantaged spouse needs assistance to adjust to the economic consequences of a divorce, legal separation or other proceeding where spousal support may be awarded, such as a Petition for an order of protection.
Alimony in solido or lump sum alimony is a form of long term support, the total amount of which is calculable on the date the decree is entered, but which is not designated as transitional alimony. It may be awarded in place of or in addition to any other alimony award, in order to provide support, including attorney fees, where appropriate. Alimony in solido may be paid in installments, provided that the payments are ordered over a definite period of time and the sum of the alimony to be paid is ascertainable when awarded.
When determining whether to grant an order for alimony and if so, the nature, amount, length of term and manner of payment, the court shall consider the following relevant factors:
The court may impose a lien upon the marital real property assigned to a party as security for the payment of spousal support. It may also direct a party to pay the premiums for health care for the other spouse, in whole or in part, for such duration as the court deems appropriate; and to secure the alimony obligations, may direct the paying spouse to obtain and pay for life insurance and name the receiving spouse as the beneficiary.
In a suit for annulment, divorce or separate maintenance, where the custody of minor children is in question, the court may award the care, custody and control of the children to either or both of the parties. Neither a preference nor a presumption for or against joint legal custody, joint physical custody or sole custody is established, but the court shall have the widest discretion to order a custody arrangement that is in the best interest of the child.
When making a determination for custody, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including the following:
When there is a finding of child abuse or child sexual abuse by one parent, and the other, non-perpetrating parent or caregiver has relocated in order to flee the perpetrating parent, the relocation shall not weigh against an award of custody.
Unless the court finds by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, there is a presumption that custody shall not be awarded to a parent who has been convicted of a criminal offense against a child less than 18 years of age.
After making an award of custody, upon the request of the non-custodial parent, the court shall grant visitation rights that will enable the child and the non-custodial parent to maintain a parent-child relationship unless the court finds, after a hearing, that visitation is likely to endanger the child's physical or emotional health.
When granting visitation, the court shall designate in which parent's home each minor child shall reside on given days of the year, including provisions for holidays, birthdays of family members, vacations and other special occasions.
If the court finds that the non-custodial parent has physically or emotionally abused the child, the court may require that visitation be supervised or prohibited until the abuse has ceased or until there is no reasonable likelihood that such abuse will recur.
If it is determined by the court that a parent has willfully abandoned a child for a period of 18 months, then, the abandoning parent's residential time shall be limited, unless the court finds by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.
Upon a dissolution of marriage, the court may make an order and decree for the suitable support and maintenance of the children by either spouse or out of such spouse's property, according to the nature of the case and the circumstances of the parties.
Tennessee bases its child support guidelines on the Income Shares Model. The formula uses the combined adjusted gross income of both parents and the number of children for whom the child support order is being established. It shall include adjustments that account for each parent's pro rata share of the child's health insurance premium costs, uninsured medical expenses, and work-related childcare costs, as well as the parenting time of the Alternate Residential Parent, who has the child less of the time.
The court may impose a lien upon the marital real property assigned to a party, or upon such party's separate real property, or both, as security for the payment of child support.
A party may file a Complaint for Legal Separation on the same grounds as those for divorce. The other party may deny the existence of grounds for divorce, but unless the other party specifically objects to the granting of an order of legal separation, the court shall declare the parties to be legally separated. If the other party specifically objects to legal separation, the court may, after a hearing, grant an order of legal separation if grounds are established.
The court also has the power to grant an absolute divorce to either party where there has been an order of legal separation for more than two years upon a petition being filed by either party that sets forth the original order for legal separation and that the parties have not become reconciled. Additionally, it is possible for the court to grant an absolute divorce before the two-year period has expired.
Legal separation shall not affect the bonds of matrimony but shall permit the parties to cease matrimonial cohabitation. The court may provide for matters such as child custody, visitation, support and property issues during legal separation upon motion by either party or by agreement of the parties.
In all actions for legal separation, the court may equitably divide, distribute, or assign the marital property in whole or in part, or reverse the division or assignment of marital property until a later time. If the court makes a final distribution of marital property at the time of the decree of legal separation, any after-acquired property is separate property.
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