Your spouse living in another state may make your case more complicated. An attorney can help you weigh the pros and cons of filing in Tennessee or in the state where your spouse lives. If the court in Tennessee does not have jurisdiction (the power to accept your case), you may be wasting your time and money if you file here.Why is it more difficult? Divorces take time and, in many situations, court appearances that you will need to attend. Additionally, you'll need to "serve" divorce papers on your spouse out of state, which can be costly and time-consuming.
In all states, including Tennessee, the spouse filing for divorce must provide the other spouse notice of the case, by making sure the spouse receives copies of all of the divorce paperwork. The court may refer to this process as serving papers, which means giving official notice by delivering a copy of the divorce petition to your spouse.To properly serve your spouse, you can request a sheriff or a process server in your spouse's home state to deliver the documents. Additionally, you can ask an adult family member or friend to hand-deliver the paperwork if it's safe to do so. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-4-103 (a).)Alternatively, you may send copies by certified mail to your spouse's residence or, if you don't know where your spouse is, publish a legal notice in a newspaper selected by the court. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 20-2-215.)