Middle Tennessee Family Law | Tiffany Johns Law Office

Archives: June 2015

Divorce Mistakes to Avoid

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Leading Nashville Divorce Attorney Outlines Divorce Mistakes to Avoid

Divorce can be costly. And, can become even more so  when spouses unnecessarily take actions that are short-sighted. There are a number of mistakes that people regularly make throughout a divorce. The most common, and possibly the most costly , mistake you can make in your divorce is to overlook assets your spouse has attempted to hide. You need a detail-oriented, experienced Nashville divorce attorney who understands how to uncover undisclosed assets. Millions of dollars are fraudulently kept from spouses every year during divorce. Some other common mistakes to avoid in divorce include:

  • Rushing through the process – This can lead to making a bad decision
  • Taking advice from others – Divorce advice from anyone other than your divorce attorney can lead you down the wrong path.
  • Blindly dividing assets – Prior to dividing property and assets, make a complete list of what you have, what you paid to acquire and its current fair market value.
  • Forgetting to pay taxes – Divorce can have tax implications that must be addressed
  • Underestimating expenses – Having a  clear picture of your current and future expenses is important to ensure your long term financial security.

Don’t make the same costly mistakes that so many other people make as they go through a divorce. Find a Nashville divorce attorney that puts you in the healthiest financial position possible as you dissolve your marriage. Think of your divorce strategy from a business perspective- the last thing you need to do is waste tens of thousands of dollars fighting over a few hundred dollars.

At Middle Tennessee Family Law, our experienced Nashville divorce attorney  utilized her more than 20 years of knowledge and experience to guide you through the dissolution of your marriage. Avoid making the same mistakes that so many others make during their divorce proceedings. Schedule a free initial consultation at our office, located in the Pilcher Building in historic downtown Nashville by calling  615-771-6944, or contact us online.

Social Media and Divorce

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Social Media a Routine Component of Divorce Proceedings in Nashville and Throughout the U.S.

Social media has become a blessing for people who want to maintain connections with friends and loved ones. Unfortunately, it has also become one of the leading causes of divorce in Nashville and throughout the U.S… Between old flames, new temptations, and other sources of marital stress Facebook and Twitter are now the most commonly cited reasons leading up to divorce. On top of being the leading cause of marital disturbances, personal accounts are routinely subpoenaed by Nashville divorce attorneys as a source of information in divorce proceedings.

There are several potential benefits, however,  of introducing incriminating evidence from your spouse’s social media account. Adultery is among the most common reasons why social media evidence is introduced before the divorce court judge. This is particularly true when a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement has an adultery clause. A skilled Nashville divorce attorney gathers information from social media as evidence that your spouse broke their vows to you and help you recover the full monetary compensation you deserve.

Nashville divorce attorneys have been shocked over the last several years at the devastating impact social media has had on spouses and their children. As you separate from your spouse, make sure you do not let social media negatively impact your divorce in any way. The best advice is to not put anything online, or engage in any conversations on your social media account, that you would not want a divorce judge to read.

Contact our experienced Nashville divorce attorney at Middle Tennessee Family Law if you are considering divorce, or have been served divorce papers. Do not turn to social media or use it for anything that may be used against you in a divorce proceeding. We strongly suggest you keep your personal matters private and limit what you say to others via social media messages. For your free initial consultation, call us at 615-771-6944 or contact us online.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce in Nashville Tennessee

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Tennessee law provides options for divorcing couples.

When a marriage comes to an end, emotions can often interfere with a spouse’s ability to seek out and understand all of the available options and solutions for resolving any conflict. Even when there is no conflict between separating spouses, it remains essential that each spouse make informed decisions concerning issues which still affect the entire family.

In Tennessee, spouses seeking to end their marriage must seek either an uncontested or a contested divorce. While it may appear that the distinction between these two options centers upon whether or not the spouses in question have agreed to end their marriage, this usually is not the case; rather, in a contested divorce, the two spouses are unable to agree on the terms of the divorce settlement.

Under Tennessee law, couples are entitled to file for an uncontested divorce when at least one spouse has resided in Tennessee for at least six months, and both spouses agree to end the marriage. In addition, uncontested divorces can be granted when both spouses cite irreconcilable difference as the grounds for the divorce, and no further explanation or show of proof is required by the court.

Couples without minor children may be granted a divorce sixty days after initial filing and service; couples with minor children borne of the marriage must wait ninety days. Couples with children must also agree on what Tennessee calls a Permanent Parenting Plan, which must address the following issues:

  • The parent to be designated as the primary residential parent;
  • The visitation schedule, detailing the days, times, and locations of scheduled visitation;
  • The amount of child support to be either paid or collected

All Tennessee couples seeking an uncontested divorce must create a written marital dissolution agreement, which sets forth how the couple intends to divide both their marital assets and marital debts. Unlike child support payments, the amount of which is subject to strict guidelines under Tennessee law, divorcing couples are free to divide their assets and debts between themselves in any manner that they wish.

Uncontested divorce has many advantages over contested divorce—not only is the process faster and less expensive, the allowed simple claim of irreconcilable differences also allows both spouses to maintain their privacy. This differs from contested divorces, which, in Tennessee, require proof of at least one ground, or basis, for the divorce. Recognized grounds for divorce in Tennessee include:

  • Adultery
  • Abandonment—when one spouse forces the other spouse out of the home and refuses support
  • Inappropriate marital conduct, including cruel and inhuman treatment such as verbal and/or physical abuse
  • Habitual alcohol or drug abuse
  • Bigamy
  • Imprisonment for a felony

As mentioned, in a contested divorce, a spouse alleging any of this conduct must then offer evidence proving it at a hearing before a judge. The other spouse is then entitled to offer evidence countering this claim. Because of this, both spouses are typically allowed six months to gather and prepare evidence for this hearing; this, of course, also increases the court costs and attorney’s fees.

Couples contesting a divorce are also often unable to agree upon a settlement of various issues, including:

  • Property issues, including division of property, valuation of property, and determination of whether property is owned jointly or separately.
  • Alimony payments
  • Parenting issues, such as custody, visitation, and child support

Couples seeking divorce who are unable to agree on certain issues, yet who still wish to avoid the time and expense of a contested divorce and a hearing before a judge may also choose to reach an agreement through the use of a third-party mediator—in fact, many divorcing Tennessee couples are required to attend mediation at some point during the process. Through mediation, both spouses can avoid the stress and anxiety of court proceedings, reaching a solution of their own choosing, rather than leaving the decision up to a judge.

At Middle Tennessee Family Law in downtown Nashville, our knowledgeable Nashville divorce attorney is dedicated to helping clients make informed decisions regarding their divorce, and guiding them to the equitable settlement that they deserve. If you are seeking a divorce, and are unsure of whether to file for a contested or uncontested divorce, we are ready to help. For a free initial consultation, contact us online today, or call (615) 620-5846. Evening and weekend appointments are available.

The Advantages of Hiring an Experienced Nashville Divorce Attorney

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You could “do it yourself”—but here’s why you shouldn’t

Not all divorces are resolved through nasty, drawn-out courtroom skirmishes waged by bitter spouses, eager to publicly humiliate a soon-to-be ex. Many divorcing couples agree to divorce without any disagreement over matters such as child custody, property division, and even alimony. After investigating the various court costs associated with filing for an uncontested Tennessee divorce, such couples may reasonably question the need for each spouse to bear the added expense of hiring their own attorney.

However, even couples wishing to part on as amicable terms as possible should still be aware of the risks, perhaps significant, of navigating the Tennessee divorce process without the assistance of an experienced Nashville divorce attorney. Below are just some of the pitfalls which can occur, and which both spouses should bear in mind as they begin this often complex legal procedure.

  • A knowledgeable Nashville divorce attorney can help avoid costly mistakes, often inadvertent, made by spouses unfamiliar with the divorce process who might fail to file a necessary document, miss an important deadline, or fail to meet certain requirements set forth by both the courts and Tennessee law. For example, couples with minor children must not only file a Permanent Parenting Plan which meets with court approval, but must also agree upon support payments which are subject to strict statutory guidelines; for example, Tennessee parents are strictly forbidden from entering any agreement which waives their child’s right to receive support payments.
  • A skilled Nashville divorce attorney can help avoid unnecessary delays caused by a mistake as described above, or a failure to follow proper court procedures. Although couples without minor children can be granted a final divorce judgment sixty days after filing for an uncontested divorce, failure to provide the correct materials or to fulfill various requirements at each step along the way can needlessly extend the process well past this minimum waiting period.
  • Even when there is no disagreement about a final settlement, drafting a valid Marital Dissolution Agreement can still require input from an experienced Tennessee divorce attorney who is able to spot potential ambiguities and future problems inherent in the language of the document. An attorney can also advise a client creating such an agreement of any potential tax liabilities or other issues which may arise in the future, and can draft more favorable alternatives to present to the other spouse for approval.
  • Finally, by retaining an experienced Nashville divorce attorney, those seeking a divorce are relieved of much of the stress involved with the divorce process, assured that the divorce is be handled as efficiently as possible, and that their needs and ultimate goals are not being overlooked.

It should be pointed out that many divorcing couples seek to retain an attorney that can represent both of them. Unfortunately, representing two spouses in a divorce action creates major ethical issues, as it is a fundamental conflict of interest for any attorney to represent opposing parties in the same action.

At Middle Tennessee Family Law, our experienced Nashville divorce attorney is dedicated to providing compassionate, skilled representation for Tennessee residents seeking help with the divorce process. Contact or call Middle Tennessee Family Law today at (615) 620-5846 for a free initial consultation. Our offices are located in downtown Nashville in the Pilcher Building, and we have evening and weekend appointments available.