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Divorce Records

How to Find a Divorce Record in Tennessee

To be divorced in Tennessee, the couple must have been separated for at least 60 days before the case can be heard. If children are involved, this waiting period rises to 90 days. Divorce is when two people who are married decide to take steps to legally reverse that decision in a divorce court. This can also be called annulment or dissolution of marriage records. Divorce certificates for 1970 to the present are held by the Tennessee Office of Vital Records and Tennessee Department of Health. There are three different forms that divorce records come in, and they are all utilized for different purposes. Knowing the different uses of these documents will help save time when attempting to access them.

Divorce records are considered court records. They may therefore be searched on third party public record websites. Divorce records can offer personal information on minors, finances, and sensitive criminal information like domestic abuse. Because of this, divorce record, divorce certificate, and divorce decree availability is usually much lower than other types of public records because of the personal nature of divorces. Simply put, divorce records are significantly harder to obtain and search for than other types of public records.

  • What are Tennessee Divorce Certificates

    Divorce certificates hold the least amount of information that a divorce record can possibly hold. Essentially, they act as a simple statement that a divorce occurred. This document includes the names of both parties, and the date and location of the divorce finalization. Generally, Tennessee Divorce certificates do not reveal divorce agreements involving how property and responsibilities will be shared between the divorcing parties. However, a divorce paper must be served by the petitioner (the spouse filing for divorce) to kick start the divorce process. A Divorce Certificate is most frequently solicited when one of the parties wishes to alter their name as it appears on the identification or receive a marriage certificate to get married again. This kind of record is generally only made available to the two parties and the attorneys involved, but some states do consider them public for viewing.

  • What are Tennessee Divorce Decrees

    A divorce decree is a final judgment divorcing parties get after a divorce petition and the necessary divorce papers have been signed. A divorce decree is also quite simple. Along with the names of parties, date, and location, it also includes the judgments made by the end of the divorce proceedings. It is given a case number and signed by a judge. If no children are involved, this document will include alimony, allocation of property, and insurance agreements. If there are children involved, it will most often list child custody agreements and scheduling, along with child support payments. Record seekers would have to visit the clerk of the county where the divorce was granted to get divorce decrees, but there may be a slight chance that a record seeker could obtain divorce decrees online. Contact the county clerk for more information.

  • What are Tennessee Divorce Records

    Divorce Records are the most full report that has been generated as a result of divorce proceedings. Along with all judgments and information related to the case, a divorce record comprises all divorce documents, transcripts, orders, agreements, and petitions generated during the case proceedings. The parties involved in the divorce will use this record to challenge or alter any information listed on it, therefore it is suggested that the parties maintain their copy for their own personal records. A divorce record acts as the case file for a dissolution of marriage records. A divorce record can be accessed and viewed by the public, but only those involved in the proceedings can access certified copies of them. Note that the divorcing parties must first sign divorce papers in Tennessee before the divorce process can begin, and the aftermath of the divorce proceedings is what forms the divorce records.

Are Tennessee Divorce Records Public?

Most Tennessee family court records are made available for public access. Unless sealed by a judge or court order, records can be obtained by virtually anyone in the state. Records that may be sealed include cases involving juveniles and minors. To access these, one needs a court order and justification for why they are attempting to access these records. Certain counties in Tennessee make divorce records searchable through online portals.

With a vail request form, specific courts provide requesting parties with divorce case files. These will be found at the court where the divorce was finalized. The Tennessee Vital Records Office provides divorce certificates. Certified copies are only available to the parties who have gotten divorced and specified family members. After 50 years, divorce records in Tennessee are considered public records and are moved to the Tennessee State Library and Archives.

Find Public Divorce Records Online

The Tennessee Office of Vital Records does not directly offer online services where record seekers can obtain divorce records. However, record seekers can find public divorce records online from an independent company approved by the Office. Record seekers must know the date of divorce, the city where the divorce was granted, and the reason for requesting the record to be able to use this online tool. Online divorce record costs $15 for the first copy and $11.50 for processing fees.

There are several third-party or private aggregate online databases where individuals can search for divorce records. However, requesters would have to pay a small fee to access these online services.

How to Obtain Tennessee Divorce Court Records

Tennessee Divorce records are largely maintained by Tennessee court clerks in the county where the divorce happened. There are a number of steps a requesting party can take in order to obtain the records they desire.

  1. Find out which court the divorce took place in and visit the official website. Find the section discussing the county’s Circuit Court, also known as Chancery Court. Many courts make their records available through online portals. Follow the “Case Search” option and fill out the requested information
  2. It is also possible to lookup divorce records in Tennessee in-person at the Circuit Clerk’s Office in the county where the divorce was finalized. Checks, money orders, debit cards, and cash are all accepted for in-person requests
  3. It may be beneficial to call the office to make sure they are holding the records one wishes to acquire
  4. Check the website of the county clerk’s office to make sure they accept online records requests. Online orders only accept debit or credit payments. Some only accept mail-in requests, and some only accept in-person requests. This depends on the county
  5. If this particular county accepts records requests to be mailed-in, they will provide the requesting party with a request form. Fees associated with mail-in requests vary depending on the information requested, what kind of copy, and how many copies. Mail-in payments can only be made by check or money order
  6. It is also possible to check with the Vital Records Office of the Tennessee Department of Health to find out if the sought after records are being maintained there

Government public record search portals and third-party public record websites both may provide court records search tools, which can help find divorce records, though record availability usually varies widely. Divorce records in particular may simply not be available through either source.

What Information is Needed?

In order to access Tennessee divorce case files, it is necessary to provide a certain amount of information.

  • Name and address of requesting party
  • Date
  • Name of husband and wife
  • Date and location of divorce
  • Purpose of request
  • Number of copies being requested
  • VALID government issued ID showing with signature visible, including:
    • Valid driver's license
    • Current passport
    • Military I.D. card
    • Temporary or permanent resident card
    • Employment card
    • U.S. Certificate of Naturalization
    • Citizenship I.D. card or certificate

Mail Requests for Tennessee Divorce Records

To mail-in a request for a divorce record, be sure to include the completed and signed application, along with a check or money order made out to Tennessee Vital Records for the appropriate fee. Wait times can be 8-10 weeks. Mail this request form and payment to:

Tennessee Vital Records
1st Floor, Andrew Johnson Tower
710 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243

In-Person Requests for Divorce Records Through Tennessee Vital Records

To find divorce records in-person, visit the Tennessee Vital Records Office. This office is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. In-person requests are often fulfilled same-day.

What is the Cost and Wait Time of a Tennessee Divorce Certificate?

To request a divorce certificate, a payment of $15.00 is necessary for each copy. This may vary depending on the time it takes the clerk to obtain this file, and whether the file is to be certified for not.

Does Tennessee Recognize Common-Law Marriage?

Although the state of Tennessee does not recognize common-law unions established within its borders, it accepts legitimate common-law marriages entered into by couples who live in a state that permits this type of marriage. The following are some examples of states that recognize common-law marriages: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire (for inheritance purposes only), Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and the District of Columbia.

How to Get a Divorce in Tennessee

It takes about a few months to get a divorce in Tennessee, depending on if it is a contested or an uncontested divorce. Generally, it is easier and faster to get an uncontested divorce than a contested divorce. That said, this is how to get a divorce in Tennessee:

STEP 1: The divorcing parties must fill and file the following original divorce papers in Tennessee:

  • Request for Divorce (Form 1)
  • Spouses’ Personal Information (Form 2)
  • Civil Case Cover Sheet or a summons
  • Title IV-D Information Form (Form 10) (only needed if one or both parents receive benefits from the State of Tennessee or child support).

STEP 2: Pay the necessary filing fee. Those who can not afford to pay the filing fees should fill out the Request to Postpone Filing Fees and Order (Form 3) and file the form with the Court Clerk.

STEP 3: Fill out the following divorce documents depending on the specifics of the case:

  • Health Insurance Notice (Form 4)
  • Divorce Agreement (Form 5)
  • Parenting Plan Form and the Child Support Worksheet
  • Final Decree of Divorce (Form 6)
  • Court Order for Divorcing Spouses (Form 7)
  • Notice of Hearing to Approve Irreconcilable Differences Divorce (Form 8)

STEP 5: After filing Form 1, contact the Clerk after 90 days to inquire about the court date for the Final Divorce Hearing and any other original divorce papers to fill before the hearing date. The spouse filing for divorce must fill and file the Notice of Hearing to Approve Irreconcilable Differences Divorce (Form 8) and mail the other spouse a copy.

STEP 6: The divorcing parties should go to the courthouse for the final divorce hearing. A copy of the Final Decree of Divorce (Form 6) should be taken to the final hearing.

STEP 7: After the final hearing, the divorcing parties can go to the Court Clerk’s office to obtain signed copies of the Final Divorce Order. The Final Divorce Order signed by the Judge is what confirms the official marriage dissolution of the divorcing parties.

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