Tennessee Divorce Records
In the early 1800's the legislature, the circuit courts, and county courts granted divorces. Divorce records may indicate the date and place of the marriage being dissolved. Circuit courts have handled divorce proceedings in most counties.
The Tennessee Office of Vital Statistics has a statewide register of divorces after 1 January 1949 and can verify the date and county of a divorce or annulment. Their address is in the “Vital Records” section of this outline. You can get application forms (and instructions) for divorce certificates from the Office of Vital Statistics web site:
A source for early Tennessee divorces is:
- Bamman, Gale Williams. Tennessee Divorces, 1797 to 1858: Taken from 750 Legislative Petitions and Acts. Nashville, Tennessee: G.W. Bamman, 1985. (Family History Library book 976.8 P2b.) This book contains abstracts of divorce decrees in alphabetical order by the name of the person requesting the divorce. It indexes every name.
Legislative petitions represent only a small number of the divorces requested. Most went through the superior, circuit, and chancery courts.
Original divorce records for all years are available in the county where the divorce occurred. The Family History Library has copies of the records for some counties. They can be found in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
TENNESSEE - COURT RECORDS
TENNESSEE - VITAL RECORDS
TENNESSEE, [COUNTY] - COURT RECORDS
TENNESSEE, [COUNTY] - DIVORCE RECORDS
TENNESSEE, [COUNTY] - VITAL RECORDS