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The First Steps To Divorce

25th August 2010
By MW Smith in Divorce
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Every action for divorce starts with the same document: a complaint. The complaint will list certain identifying information about you, your spouse, and, if applicable, your children. One of the items you are required to list is your address. The complaint will also list what type of Divorce you are seeking. The two general types of divorce are uncontested (Irreconcilable Differences or "ID") or contested, in which you prove your grounds for divorce.

Irreconcilable Differences:

Every complaint filed in our office gives two options to proceed on a divorce. We always list Irreconcilable Differences as a ground. Should you and your spouse be able to enter into a Marital Dissolution Agreement and a Permanent Parenting Plan, you will be able to proceed on this ground. In general, an Irreconcilable Differences divorce is less costly.

Contested Divorce:

In addition to Irreconcilable Differences, we list a ground to proceed on a contested divorce. In Tennessee, the following grounds are recognized:

- Inappropriate Marital Conduct (Cruel and Inhumane Treatment)
- Impotency
- Prior Existing Marriage
- Adultery
- Desertion
- Infamy
- Conviction of Felony
- Refusal to Follow to Tennessee
- Pregnancy by Another at Marriage
- Habitual Drunkenness
- Drug Abuse
- Abandonment
- Legal Separation for Two Years
- Attempt on Life of Spouse
- Indignities

If you proceed on one of these grounds, you will need proof in order to obtain your divorce. If you are unable to prove the grounds, your divorce may not be granted.

Unless specifically directed not to do so, we also list one of the contested grounds as well as Irreconcilable Differences in our complaint. The reason we do this is to give you more options and more control over your divorce. By alleging alternate grounds, we are giving you the ability to switch tracks during the divorce process. For example, you may think that you and your spouse will never agree on anything and even mentioning Irreconcilable Differences as a ground is a waste of time and money. One month into the process, after your spouses' first Deposition, he or she may wish to settle. By listing alternate grounds, we can drop whatever our ground may be and proceed on an ID divorce.

The opposite is true, if you come into our office and tell us that you and your spouse have worked out all aspects of your divorce and you just need us to put it in writing, we will also interview you and find out which ground(s) for a contested divorce are available to you. If, for any reason, the lines of communication and negotiation break down, by listing a ground in addition to ID, you still have an avenue to pursue your divorce.

This information is an attempt to give you a brief overview of the many of the issues you may encounter as you seek to end your marriage by divorce. It is by no means all encompassing or a substitute for meeting with a attorney of your choosing who is licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.

This article has been submitted on behalf of The Jones Law Firm. Attorney William Jones IV is a Memphis Divorce Lawyer and Memphis Bankruptcy Lawyer. His firm, The Jones Law Firm, serves the legal needs of clients in North Mississippi and West Tennessee.
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