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As you may already know The State of Tennessee is a no-fault state when it comes to filing for divorce, which means basically you don’t need a reason to file.  However there is waiting period of 2 years before you are able to file on a no-fault ground.  These laws were written many years ago, but the overall reason remains the same, and that is to give a couple reasonable time to reconcile.  When you file on fault ground of which adultery applies, that waiting period does not come into play so you may file immediately.   Keep in mind after you wait that 2 years, another 1 year can easily go by while a settlement or court date is granted, therefore you could realistically be looking at 3 years before you can honestly move on with your life in a positive direction.  Using adultery as the fault as well as a negotiation, and it’s conceivable you could move on in as little as 90 days.  The waiting period no longer applies, and it's just a matter of getting a court date or working the details.  That in itself is a huge factor when it comes to what one might consider a quality of life situation.  It’s unfortunate you’re getting a divorce to begin with, but the quicker you can move, the better it is for everyone.


Can I place a GPS on my spouse's car?

Tennessee Code Annotated Section 39-13-606-Electronic tracking of a motor vehicle.  We’ll spare the legal jargon and get the point.  Unfortunately it is ILLEGAL.  You may hear conflicting information on this topic even by people that should be in the know, however look it up yourself using the referenced code.  You may not place a tracking device on the vehicle without ALL the owners of said vehicle be advised of such.  Furthermore a GPS unit printout stating that a vehicle spent the night at a hotel or another person’s house is nothing more than circumstantial evidence to begin with.  Keep in mind anyone offering to not abide this law, their overall ethics need to be called into question.  Furthermore if you should get caught doing this, your spouse could use this against you and either level the playing field so to speak, or even place themselves in an advantage when they were the ones doing something wrong to start.  We have people contacting our office all the time asking if we can come out and scan their vehicles for a GPS tracker, so just like it’s on your mind to put on the car, your cheating spouse is looking for one.


Can I track a phone, text messages, or get into their email account?

Just like the GPS question the answer is no, it remains ILLLEGAL. The phone belongs to your spouse, even if you bought it for them the courts would view this as invasion of privacy, and any evidence you gain would be deemed as inadmissible.  Breaking into an email account, installing spyware, or any other type of electronic snooping falls within the above, and you could even subject yourself with being charged with a felony.  We are not personally familiar with this ever happening, but don’t risk it.  You need to paint yourself as the victim, and not give your spouse any ammunition to turn the tables.


Will Adultery have any financial impact on my divorce? 

If you can prove your spouse committed adultery and they earn a higher income, a judge can and generally will take this into consideration where alimony is concerned.  You had a standard of living while married, therefore your standard should not diminish as a result of your spouse’s actions that lead to the demise of the marriage.  Bottom line- you were not to blame, so why should you suffer.  In addition if you are the main provider and your spouse is caught committing adultery is plausible you get away from have to pay them any alimony at all.   Tennessee is known as an Equitable Distribution State, which basically means fair distribution.  However when it comes down to it, the courts make the final decision, therefore if you can show your spouse caused all this trouble in the first place, you could find yourself on the higher end of the distribution. 


What about the money my spouse spends on their paramour?

Commonly referred to as Dissipation of Assets you can claim what could be called a “financial credit” for any monies your spouse spends on their lover during their adulterous affair.  The money is considered community property, and your side of the community did not give permission for your spouse to spend family money on dinners, hotels, vacations, etc.  Spending marital assets on their pursuit of another during an adulterous affair can violate the statutory injunction, which means the strict limites on how family money or assets are used during the course of the divorce process.


We are separated so my spouse says they can date whoever they want?

Perfect, and let them continue to think that and while we bust them.  Regardless of what they think, or have even been told by their friend who "knows an attorney", the law states they cannot.  This is also true even is a separation agreement has been signed.  Many think once such an agreement has been signed and they move out of the house they are free to do as they please, and again let them think that.  The fact of the matter is until the divorce decree is signed BY A JUDGE, you are still married in the eyes of the law, and therefore must conform to that law.  They are not allowed to date anyone or they are opening themselves up to a charge of adultery.


Will adultery effect child custody in anyway?

A presiding judge, or any experts assigned to a custody case are generally not impressed by a parent who decides to date (thus committing the act of adultery) during the separation process.  These type of actions adversely call into the question that persons character or better yet questions that person decision making process. In addition if you can show your child’s parent is bringing the children around this other person that basically has the ability to compound everything stated above.  Young children are generally very impressionable, therefore confusing them with such a situation once again will call into the question their overall character, giving you an advantage when it comes time for the judge to make a decision.

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