Respected Clarksville Divorce Attorneys Ready To Fight For You
Filing for divorce in TN can come with lots of questions. At Batson Nolan, our divorce attorneys are here to address any of your divorce, child custody, or child support questions for Clarksville, Montgomery County, as well as other areas of Tennessee and Kentucky.
Preparing for Your Divorce
If you are contemplating a divorce, there are several important factors you will need to consider, and there are several important decisions you will need to make as you work through the process of bringing your marriage to an end. While getting divorced can be stressful and the process can be contentious, it is also entirely possible to finalize a divorce amicably and with minimal court involvement.
In order to help the process go as smoothly as possible, one of the most important things you can do as a spouse is to plan ahead. The more effort you put in upfront to assess your priorities and address potential issues, the less likely you are to encounter unexpected challenges along the way.
There are many steps involved in preparing for a divorce, and our Clarksville divorce attorneys are here to guide you every step of the way. As your divorce counsel, we will assist you with matters including:
- Assessing Your “Grounds” for Divorce – Strictly speaking, Tennessee is not a “no-fault” divorce state. However, it is possible to get divorced in Tennessee based on “irreconcilable differences” if you and your spouse agree that the time has come (or if you have lived apart for two years and do not have children from your marriage). If your spouse does not want a divorce, or if certain other factors are involved in your divorce, then you will need to assess your options for filing on fault-based grounds.
- Gathering Financial Records and Inventorying Your Property – When you file for divorce (or your spouse files for divorce), you are required to disclose your income from all sources. While this will simply be a formality in many cases, it is still important not to inadvertently omit any information you have a legal obligation to disclose. In order to prepare to deal with the equitable distribution of your property (more on this below), you will need to prepare a comprehensive inventory of your assets as well.
- Thinking about Parenting Time Post-Divorce – If you have children, one of the main aspects of your divorce will be the formulation of your post-divorce parenting plan. Your parenting plan must reflect your children’s “best interests,” and you will need to be able to settle on an arrangement that works for you and your spouse. There are several options available, and our Clarksville divorce lawyers can help you plan ahead to preserve the parenting rights and privileges you desire.
Preparing for Life after Your Divorce
While the fundamental purpose of going through a divorce is to formally end your marriage, the decisions you make during the divorce process are likely to impact the rest of your life. As a result, while ending your marriage is a discrete event (and the process will end with the issuance of a formal court order), it is important to approach the process as a time to prepare for life after your divorce. When you choose our firm to represent you, our Clarksville divorce lawyers will help you make informed decisions about matters such as:
In Tennessee, divorcing spouses are required to divide their marital assets according to the principle of “equitable distribution.” In many cases, this does not mean a 50/50 split. In addition to helping to establish your equitable share of your marital estate, our attorneys can also help you address the particular issues involved in distributing real estate, retirement accounts, digital currency, and other unique types of assets.
If you have children, establishing your post-divorce “parenting time” rights will be a central aspect of your divorce. While it is still possible to establish a traditional custody and visitation schedule if this is what works best for your children, there are now various more contemporary options available as well. Whether you are seeking primary custody, regularly scheduled visitation, or you want to co-parent after your divorce, our Clarksville divorce attorneys can help you pursue the parenting rights you desire.
Child support and spousal support are related, but very different, issues in a divorce under Tennessee law. However, both require a comprehensive picture of you and your spouse’s respective finances, and both provide opportunities for post-divorce planning. Whether you are expecting to pay or you need to make sure you have adequate financial support after your divorce, our Clarksville divorce attorneys can help.
Planning for payment of your children’s college tuition and expenses is an important – and separate – component of the divorce process. If you need to make sure your former spouse will contribute to your children’s educational expenses when the time comes, we can incorporate this into your divorce negotiations.
Various aspects of the divorce process can have Tennessee and federal tax implications. Our Clarksville divorce lawyers are thoroughly knowledgeable about the tax issues involved, and we can help you structure your property division and financial support payments to minimize (or avoid) any potential tax liability.
Myths about Divorce
Myths about the divorce process are rampant throughout society. Some of them are based on truth but are oversimplified; some of them are not true but would have been accurate a few decades ago; and some of them were never true. If you are considering divorce, you need to make sure that you understand what consequences might ensue with a reasonable degree of accuracy. The following are some common myths, followed by the truth about the current state of affairs:
- A divorce must be consensual: A divorce does not have to be consensual. In other words, one spouse can get a divorce over the other spouse’s objections. If the other spouse objects to the divorce or to the terms of the divorce (who gets the house, for example), things can get messy – but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
- “Everything gets split 50/50”: This statement is true only as a very vague approximation. In other words, it is the starting point for calculating who gets what. Both Tennessee and Kentucky are equitable distribution states, not community property states, which means that the family court has more discretion to divide property unequally. Even to the extent that the 50/50 principle applies, it applies only to property that was acquired during the marriage. Even certain property acquired during the marriage (property inherited by one spouse, for example) doesn’t necessarily get split 50/50. If your finances are complex, a skilled family lawyer may be necessary to come up with a working estimation of how much each spouse will get.
- I can protect property from being divided by putting it in my name: No, you can’t. And in extreme cases, you might face criminal charges for even trying. A family court will typically ignore the name on a bank account or the legal title to real estate when dividing property incident to a divorce.
- A divorcing wife is automatically entitled to alimony (also known as “spousal support): This isn’t true. Depending on the details of your financial affairs, the husband may even be awarded alimony. In other cases, no alimony is awarded to either spouse. Alimony, when awarded at all, is typically temporary – permanent alimony is relatively unusual.
- “Mothers always get custody of the children”: This isn’t true anymore, although it was once more the rule than the exception. Strictly speaking, the gender of the parent is irrelevant to a residential custody decision. The primary consideration is the “best interests of the child.” If the parents agree on where the child should live, the parents’ preference will be taken into consideration.
- The children can choose which parent they want to live with: This is not true. The applicable standard is the “best interests of the child,” not the “preferences of the child.” If the child is under 12 years old, he might not even be asked his preference. If the child is 12 or over, his preference will probably be taken into consideration but will not necessarily be decisive.
- You can retaliate against a parent who doesn’t pay child support by denying visitation: No, you can’t. You can be penalized if you even try, because it is considered a matter of taking the law into your own hands. You can, however, take the non-paying spouse to court over failure to pay child support, and the court will penalize the non-paying spouse with penalties up to and including possible jail time.
- It’s OK to date after you are legally separated: No, it is not necessarily OK to date even after you are legally separated. Although you will not be automatically penalized for this, it is considered adultery, or at the very least, inappropriate conduct. Although adultery is not a criminal offense, if you spend marital funds on a new partner, it might adversely affect your position when it comes time to divide the marital property.
Our Clarksville divorce lawyers can help with questions like:
1. How long will my divorce take?
Uncontested divorces in Tennessee can take 2-3 months (at a minimum) to complete. Contested divorces can last much longer. The length is based on the complexity of the issues, the amicability of the couple, and the attitude of each divorce lawyer.
2. What is the difference in an uncontested and contested divorce?
Uncontested is a divorce in which both parties resolve their issues amicably. The parties may not agree at first as to all issues, but working together and through their legal team, ultimately reach a resolution with little litigation. Uncontested marriage dissolutions are quicker, less expensive, and more efficient because the parties work together to resolve their differences. If you and your partner are contemplating filing as uncontested, our experienced Clarksville divorce lawyer at Batson Nolan can assist you in each of the following stages:
- Filing a Divorce Complaint: these are typically filed on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences,” but there still has to be specific statutorily-mandated language inserted into the document in order for it to be accepted in a court of law. Batson Nolan will ensure that your filing is properly worded and timely filed with the court so you do not have to worry about delays while navigating the process.
- Drafting a Marital Dissolution Agreement: The “MDA” is a finalized version of the terms of your divorce. A Clarksville divorce attorney can ensure all of your rights are fully protected and all issues are addressed in this document.
- Developing a Parenting Plan: We can help you create a parenting plan that includes visitation and child support and custody rights, which will go into effect once your divorce is finalized
By contrast, a contested divorce is one in which the parties become deadlocked on one issue or many issues. These can often require significant litigation, time, money, and cause significant stress. If a marriage dissolution comes to a point in which all further attempts at negotiation are futile, the case has become contested and the attorney must begin to prepare for trial. Batson Nolan can assist clients in filing for divorce when couples cannot reach an amicable resolution. This includes asserting legitimate grounds for divorce, which includes, but is not limited to: inappropriate marital behavior, cruel and/or inhuman conduct, adultery, abandonment, habitual intoxication, or certain criminal violations.
3. How much will my divorce cost?
A good rule of thumb for divorce cases or any family law case is the more the parties fight, the more it will cost. Remember: When thinking about the costs, remember that you are considering not just money, but also spending your time and emotions.
4. How do I talk to my children about the divorce?
Divorce is a difficult and confusing time for children. The best way to handle it with your kids is to sit down and talk. Let them know how much they are loved. Do not argue in front of the kids, do not complain to them, and do not use children for leverage. Consider counseling for your children if they are struggling to cope with the separation.
5. Should I seek a marriage counselor?
Family law cases are very emotional, so we do recommend clients consider seeking counseling before or during the legal process. Depending on the client’s needs, counseling is for different purposes. A client will often put off going to a counselor because his or her spouse will not. Do not wait for your spouse to participate! Individual counseling can be extremely helpful.
6. What about reconciliation?
Simply put: We are always for reconciliation if it can be achieved. We encourage you to explore alternatives, such as separation and especially marriage counseling.
If you are considering a divorce, beginning a child custody case, or need child support help, contact a family lawyer at Batson Nolan, PLC. Located just 45 minutes from Nashville, TN we are committed to helping clients navigate complicated issues including child support, custody, military divorce, and more! Let us help you find a resolution in Clarksville, Springfield, Dickson, Ashland City, and beyond.
Call our Clarksville divorce attorneys today!