There are two options to end your marriage in Tennessee: annulment and divorce. Which one is right for you?
Marriage is not easy. When you are done dealing with your partner, you have two ways to end the relationship and move on: annulment and divorce. These are two separate processes, even though some people use these terms interchangeably.
A divorce ends a perfectly valid marriage — one that was entered voluntarily by both parties with their consent without any fraud. An annulment, on the other hand, ends an invalid marriage. The marriage becomes null and void. It is erased as if it never happened.
However, not every marriage qualifies for an annulment. In fact, very few do, which is why most parties opt for a divorce.
Grounds for Annulment
- This means that one or both parties are already married to someone else.
- The marriage is based on lies or misrepresentations by one or both spouses.
- Under Tennessee law, a person cannot marry a family member such as a parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew, niece. Adoptive family members and step-family members are included.
- Mental illness. A person who is mentally ill cannot legally enter marriage.
- A person who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the marriage cannot legally give consent.
- Inability to consummate the marriage. If either spouse is physically incapable of having sexual relations, then the marriage can be annulled.
- Force or duress. Both parties must voluntarily enter the marriage without any force.
Grounds for Divorce
If your marriage does not meet any of the conditions above, then you can file for divorce. Tennessee is unique in that it allows for fault or no-fault divorce. For a no-fault divorce, there are two options:
- Irreconcilable differences. Both spouses agree that there are marital problems that cannot be fixed, and the divorce is justified.
- Two years of separation with no minor children. The spouses must have lived in separate residences for at least two years, and they have no children under the age of 18.
Tennessee also has fault-based divorce. This is an option if one party contests the divorce. This means that you will have to prove fault, though. Some grounds for fault include the following:
- Conviction of a felony
- Attempted murder
- Desertion for at least one year
- Living apart for two years
- Habitual drunkenness or drug abuse
- Cruel and inhumane treatment
- Abandonment or neglect of the spouse
Contact Us Today
Divorce or annulment? The one that is right for you will depend on your circumstances. Not everyone qualifies for an annulment, so contact a lawyer and learn more about your legal rights and options.
The Law Office of David L. Scott can help you find the best way to end your marriage. We have more than 25 years of experience. To schedule a consultation, call (615) 896-7656 or fill out the online form.