Unlike many other states, Tennessee has fairly broad laws concerning legal separation.
For those in the Cleveland area who may not understand the difference, a legal separation is a formal court proceeding in which the family law court will enter orders concerning, custody, the division of property, child support and the like. In other words, it is much more than a married couple's simply deciding to live apart for a while.
On the other hand, because a legal separation is not a divorce, the married couple remains so, and neither is legally entitled to marry another person under the laws of Tennessee.
A person who wants a legal separation must have at least one of the same listed grounds as in the case of an outright divorce. Like most other states, and in additional to many other grounds, Tennessee recognizes irreconcilable differences between the couple as one of the grounds for divorce or separation.
As a caveat though, the way the law is set up, both parties must agree to a legal separation in lieu of a divorce. In another words, if one party wants a divorce, then it is quite likely that he or she will get it.
Tennessee residents may choose to pursue a legal separation instead of a divorce for a number of reasons. For some, moral or religious convictions are the deciding factor.
In other cases, though, people may just not be emotionally ready to divorce, or they may think that remaining legally married will make the process easier on their children. In still other cases, remaining married may be the most prudent financial decision a couple can make.
Whether a legal separation is a good option is a question that should be discussed with an experienced attorney. Likewise, it is important to remember that because legal separation will raise the same questions about the division of property and parental responsibilities as would a divorce, legal representation may be needed.