Going through a divorce can be an overwhelming experience. All aspects of your life, including your family, children, finances, assets, and friends, can be affected. If you live in Chattanooga, Tennessee and are considering divorce, you should speak with an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible. 


In Tennessee, the process of divorce, also known as the dissolution of marriage, can be complex and varies depending on individual circumstances.  

To file for divorce in Tennessee, you must meet certain residency requirements, such as living in the state for at least six months prior to filing, and the state recognizes both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. No-fault grounds include irreconcilable differences or living separately for a continuous period of two years if there are no minor children. Fault grounds can include adultery, abandonment, or cruel and inhuman treatment.  

Understanding the specific legal requirements and the implications of your choices can significantly impact the outcome of your divorce proceedings. Consulting with a knowledgeable family law attorney who can help you better understand Tennessee divorce law is crucial to work toward protecting your rights and interests. 




Tennessee has a divorce rate of 19.1 per 1,000 couples — currently ranking as the tenth-highest divorce rate of any U.S. state. If your marriage is about to end, it’s important to know that you’re not alone in this and to have a clear understanding of your rights and what to expect from your case. Below are some answers to some of the most common divorce questions I hear as a Tennessee family law attorney. 

Will We Have to Go to Court?

Under Tennessee divorce laws, a marriage can only be ended in one of two ways. Either both parties can agree on a divorce settlement or the separating couple will need to go through a divorce trial.

Generally, a settlement is less traumatic and cost-effective. However, if you and your ex are unable to agree on matters such as child custody, child support, alimony, and the division of your assets and property, this type of amicable divorce may not be an option. Instead, you will need to present your case in court so that a judge can determine those arrangements for you. 

Regardless of whether you anticipate your divorce being friendly or hostile, it’s best to seek legal guidance from an experienced divorce attorney sooner rather than later. A seasoned lawyer can not only represent you in court if needed but can also take steps to keep you out of court in the first place if at all possible. 

How is Child Custody Determined?

In some situations, you and your ex may be able to sit down and draw up your own agreed-upon terms when it comes to child custody and related considerations. If you can’t, however, then the determination of child custody will fall to Tennessee’s family court system. 

Like most states, Tennessee law requires that the court considers the best interests of the child or children when establishing custody arrangements. Custody can be either joint or sole. Several factors will be considered by the court to determine child custody. These include: 

  • The child's wishes or preferences (this is considered for children 12 and older) 

  • Each parent’s ability to cater to the child's needs, including food, education, medical care, and shelter 

  • Any history of misconduct like child abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, or neglect 

  • Whether the child’s current stability concerning home, school, and community will be negatively impacted 

  • The physical and mental health of each party 

  • The perceived parenting skills of each parent 

The testimony provided by each party or witness will help the court determine what is best for the child. Also, the type of custody, as well as other factors considered by the court, will determine if child visitation is allowed and who pays for child support. 

How is Property Divided in a Tennessee Divorce?

Tennessee is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally between spouses. Marital property includes all assets and debts acquired during the marriage, while separate property – such as assets owned before the marriage or gifts and inheritances received by one spouse – is typically not subject to division.  

The court considers several factors when determining how to divide property, including the duration of the marriage, the economic circumstances of each spouse, contributions to marital assets, and any future needs or earning capacities. It's important to work with a knowledgeable divorce attorney who can represent your interests. 

What is Alimony and How is it Determined?

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a financial payment from one spouse to another, intended to provide support during or after a divorce. In Tennessee, there are four types of alimony: alimony in solid (lump-sum alimony), rehabilitative alimony, transitional alimony, and alimony in the future (long-term alimony).  

The court decides the type, amount, and duration of alimony based on various factors, such as the length of the marriage, the age and health of each spouse, the standard of living established during the marriage, the financial resources and needs of each party, and each party's contributions to the marriage, including homemaking and child care. Determining alimony can be highly nuanced, making legal advice crucial for ensuring a fair outcome. 


At the Law Offices of Fisher Wise, I understand how complicated and stressful the entire divorce process can be. I have dedicated my career to protecting the legal rights and assets of parties involved in a divorce. I will be your legal counsel and I will work hard to handle the various aspects of your divorce filings. 

As your legal counsel, I will work with all the parties involved to settle matters like child custody, assets division, child visitation, and child support maturely and productively. Above all, I will help you get through the mental and emotional stress that comes with a divorce.


If you're thinking of filing for a divorce or have been served with divorce papers, you don’t have to go through it alone. Call the Law Offices of Fisher Wise to schedule a free consultation. I will help you understand the divorce process and offer legal advice on the options available to you. I serve clients in Chattanooga, Red Bank, East Ridge, Soddy-Daisy, Marion, Sequatchie, Rhea, and the surrounding counties of Tennessee.