Trust an Experienced Franklin Divorce Attorney to Help You Begin the Next Chapter, After Divorce
For many people, the prospect of pursuing a divorce action is an experience which only intensifies the emotionally challenging decision to end their marriage. Very few people, if any, enter into a marriage with another person having any idea of what might happen should the marriage fail, let alone having reached any sort of advance settlement agreement about the division of responsibilities, assets and debts in the event of a divorce.
Getting divorced in Tennessee is a legal process which, although unfortunately common, still requires that all spouses comply with the sometimes complex rules and state law. At Middle Tennessee Family Law, our experienced Franklin divorce attorney is dedicated to ardently representing our clients at every stage of the divorce process, easing stress caused by attempting to navigate alone an unfamiliar Tennessee family court system, and allowing them to focus on themselves, their families, and on beginning a new chapter of their lives.
How Do I Begin the Process?
To get a divorce in Tennessee, at least one spouse must have resided in Tennessee for at least six months prior to filing; divorce actions are filed in the county of residence.
It is possible for spouses without minor children to be granted a divorce sixty days after filing for an uncontested divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. These spouses must submit to the judge a written Marital Dissolution Agreement, in which they formally agree as to how they wish to divide their property and debts. An uncontested divorce in Tennessee is faster, less expensive, and more private than a contested divorce.
Couples with minor children must wait at least ninety days before being granted an uncontested divorce. In addition to the written Marital Dissolution Agreement, the divorcing couple must also arrive at a Permanent Parenting Plan, which outlines issues such as custody, visitation, and child support. Unlike a Marital Dissolution Agreement, in which a couple may divide their assets and debts in any manner they choose, agreements regarding minor children are subject to strict Tennessee state guidelines.
Couples unable to reach a settlement agreement on their own must instead file for a contested divorce, in which a judge ultimately determines an equitable settlement after hearing arguments from both sides. Also, in a contested divorce, one party must allege a sufficient ground for the divorce and be prepared to enter evidence to support that allegation; a claim of irreconcilable differences is not a sufficient ground for a contested divorce. Finally, because of the need for a trial, contested divorces necessarily take longer and usually incur greater court costs and legal fees.
In a Contested Divorce, how Do the Courts Determine Who Gets What?
Although the circumstances of each divorce are different, all divorce actions are subject to Tennessee property division law which requires an equitable division of all marital property when divorcing spouses are unable to reach a settlement agreement on their own. Obviously, determining an equitable division becomes progressively more complex when the marital assets are complex as well. Disputes often involve:
Whether an asset is marital property, or owned individually by one spouse
The actual value of an asset, such as a house or car
Preservations of assets—how to divide a jointly-owned interest in a business, for example, without forcing the business to disband
Liquidity of assets—when the family home represents more than 50 percent of a couples total property, how can both spouses take an equal share of the marital property without selling the house?
These issues and others, such as child custody and child support, must be settled before a divorce can be granted.
Contact an Experienced Franklin Divorce Attorney Today
At the Middle Tennessee Family Law, our skilled Franklin Tenessee divorce attorney is dedicated to help Franklin area families reach equitable solutions during difficult times. To find out more, we encourage you to call office, or contact us online for a free initial consultation.