In Tennessee, legal separation is available instead of divorce.  Legal separation may be granted for a limited time or may be perpetual. If married parties have not reconciled within two years after entry of an order of legal separation, the failure to reconcile can be considered grounds for divorce. Thus, the duration of legal separation is generally set at two years. If one of the parties desires a divorce, a divorce may be granted to that party based only on the grounds that the parties have been legally separated for two years. Legal separation is generally appropriate where reconciliation is possible. In these circumstances, legal separation—as opposed to divorce—may be appropriate in order to diminish the negative effects of divorce on public welfare.

Effects of Legal Separation in Tennessee

A legal separation does not affect the bonds or matrimony, but a legal separation does allow you and your spouse to live apart and cease matrimonial cohabitation.


Grounds for legal separation in Tennessee are the same as those for divorce. However, the judge has the option, in appropriate cases, to order you and your spouse divorced instead of legally separated.


In cases where one party wants a divorce and the other party wants a legal separation, the judge may grant legal separation and decline to distribute the marital property where the possibility of reconciliation is promising. The judge also has the option to grant child support, custody and visitation and may even distribute property in appropriate circumstances. Additionally, you and your spouse can agree on the terms of legal separation in Tennessee.

Differences Between Legal Separation and Divorce in Tennessee

In contrast, divorce and property division is generally considered preferable where the prospects of reconciliation are poor or nil and the marital relationship has ended. If reconciliation is impossible, legal separation would merely prolong a bad situation that society has no interest in preserving.


If you desire a legal separation in Tennessee, you must file a request in court. It is important to hire a competent Tennessee legal separation attorney to handle your case. An experienced Tennessee legal separation attorney is very important, since granting a divorce or legal separation is up to the judge. We serve clients in Nashville, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Memphis Germantown, Millington, Cordova, Bartlett, Collierville, and all of West and Middle, Tennessee.

Contact a Tennessee Legal Separation Attorney

Contact us to schedule a confidential consultation at our conveniently located offices in Memphis, Tennessee by calling us at 901-410-5490, or in Middle Tennessee by calling us at 615-656-7920, or by sending us an email at info@rivercitylaw.com.