Trusted Clarksville Family Lawyers Ready To Serve You

Attorneys in this area:


J. Matthew Miller   | Philip M. Mize  |  Christina M. Bartee  |  Tracy P. Knight


Family Law in Tennessee

A family having a problem in ClarksvilleBatson Nolan PLC has extensive experience representing clients in Tennessee and Kentucky. While our primary focus is on serving the communities of Clarksville, Fort Campbell, Springfield, Ashland City, Dickson, Dover, and Erin, we also regularly practice in Nashville and Sumner County. Whether you are facing a divorce (military or not), child support issue, adoption or a child custody case, the firm understands the sensitive nature of such legal issues, and we are committed to providing both compassionate and aggressive representation that our clients deserve.

Divorce

Two rings of a divorced couple in ClarksvilleWhile uncontested divorces in Tennessee can take 2-3 months (at a minimum) to complete, the contested ones can last much longer. The length of is based on the complexity of the issues, the amicability of the couple, and the attitude of each attorney.

Child Custody and Visitation

At Batson Nolan PLC, we understand the importance of protecting your child’s well-being, both today and in the future. In Tennessee, the courts evaluate custody arrangements by examining whether the arrangement proposed is in the best interests of the child or children. At Batson Nolan PLC, our Clarksville family law attorneys craft our cases around this best interest analysis and statutory factors, all while we ensure that your families’ individual situation and your child’s individual needs are taken into account.

Mediation Services

Mediation is a non-adversarial dispute resolution process that takes place away from the courtroom. You, your spouse and your Clarksville family law attorneys will meet to negotiate the terms of your divorce, parenting plan or family law issues in conversations guided by an experienced mediator.

Post Divorce

Two person signing divorce paper in ClarksvilleClients often think that once the divorce papers are signed, things will be set in stone for the future. However, the one constant in life is changed. As changes happen, families often find themselves in need of a different arrangement with regard to the matters settled in their MDA (Marital Dissolution Agreement). Although adjustments are common, sometimes they can be complex. Sometimes, modification merely requires language changes or clarification, but sometimes they are much more challenging.

Military Divorce

As a result of our close proximity to Fort Campbell, the Clarksville family lawyers of Batson Nolan PLC are very knowledgeable and experienced in handling divorces involving military personnel and their spouses. Although the procedures of a military divorce are very similar to the civilian ones, there are several additional factors which affect the outcome. For instance, if the active-duty spouse is stationed in a remote area or overseas, the lawsuit is likely to be delayed until the active duty spouse is no longer unavailable per his/her military service.

High Net Worth Divorces

Divorcing is both complicated and emotionally challenging for either spouse. It can also be financially devastating to either one of the parties, particularly the breadwinner of the relationship. The more assets you have, the more you stand to lose. Have questions about this matter or others? Get in touch with our trusted and proven Clarksville family lawyers about your situation.

Alimony and Spousal Support

In Tennessee, alimony is the legal obligation of one spouse to financially support the other spouse. The trial court is granted broad discretion in determining whether alimony or spousal support is required, and if so, the trial court has broad discretion in determining the nature or type of alimony, the amount of alimony, and the duration or term of support payments.

Father’s Rights

Research demonstrates that a father’s nurturing presence in a child’s life has a major impact upon the child’s development, both cognitive, socially and emotionally. It is universally accepted among experts that children who have a meaningful relationship with their father statistically have a greater chance at achieving success and happiness as adults. Let a dedicated Clarksville family law firm help you.

Orders of Protection

In Tennessee, an Order of Protection (OP) provides victims of certain types of abuse with a shield from their abusers that exists outside the context of the criminal courts and criminal law. Though OP’s are effective, they can be tricky to obtain. Accordingly, this article will examine and provide a summary analysis of Tennessee Protection Orders.

Other Areas of Expertise That Our Clarksville Family Law Firm Offer:

  • Surrogacy
  • Child Support Modification
  • Adoption
  • Premarital Planning

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How is child custody determined in Tennessee?

The primary principle of child custody decisions is not parental rights, but “the best interests of the child.” Parental rights are taken into account, of course, but they are considered secondary to the best interests of the child. Some of the factors that a Tennessee family court might use to make a custody decision include:

  • The relative incomes of the two parents;
  • Each parent’s desire to raise the child, based not only on each parent’s stated preference but also on each parent’s history of voluntary involvement with the child’s life;
  • Any history of abuse or neglect by either spouse;
  • The child’s stated preference; and
  • Each parent’s actual ability to care for the child.

How much emphasis does a family court place on the child’s preference when considering a custody decision?

Children under 12 years old are not even asked their preference. Once the child turns 12, however, his or her preferences become progressively important every year thereafter. A family court, however, is always empowered to ignore the child’s preference if the child’s best interests would be better served by doing so.

How is property division determined?

Property division can be a complex process if the divorcing couple owns significant assets. The old adage that “it all gets split 50/50” is a gross oversimplification. Tennessee is an “equitable distribution” state, not a “community property” state. And as such, the following factors (among others) are relevant:

  • How long the couple have been married
  • The age of each spouse
  • Whether either spouse is experiencing health problems
  • The personal finances of each spouse, including individual earning power
  • How the property in question was originally obtained (purchased with earnings or investment gains, inherited or gifted, for example)
  • Whether either spouse committed waste of marital assets (by supporting a mistress, for example)

How does divorce mediation work?

A Tennessee family court is likely to require a divorcing couple to attend divorce mediation. In mediation, a trained third-party mediator is brought in to help the divorcing spouses reach an agreement on matters such as child custody. The mediator cannot impose a solution on the couple, only encourage them to reach an agreement. Mediation is generally a far less stressful alternative to litigation in court.

Does Tennessee enforce prenuptial agreements?

Yes, it does. Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-3-501 specifically provides for the enforcement of prenuptial agreements. Many family law courts, however, are inherently suspicious of them and may take a closer look at a prenuptial agreement than they would another type of agreement – looking for a reason to invalidate it. Provisions relating to child custody or child support will not be enforced.

What is the residency requirement for filing a divorce in Tennessee?

The residency requirement refers to the amount of time that a spouse has to live in the state before the court has jurisdiction to grant a divorce. In Tennessee, the residency requirement is six months before filing the complaint. You must be able to prove that you or your spouse has resided in Tennessee for at least six months.

Is there a waiting period for a divorce in Tennessee?

No, Tennessee does not have a waiting period. As long as you can meet the residency requirement, you do not have to wait any longer to file for divorce. You are also not required to be separated from your spouse for a certain amount of time before filing for divorce. 

What are the legal grounds for getting a divorce in Tennessee?

If you and your spouse agree to the divorce, you can file for divorce based on “irreconcilable differences,” meaning that you and your spouse have differences that you cannot fix and wish to end your marital relationship. This is considered “no-fault” grounds.

Tennessee also recognizes “fault-based” grounds such as adultery, a felony conviction, drug abuse or habitual drunkenness, impotency, sterility, and abandonment. A family law firm in Tennessee can discuss all of the possible grounds for divorce with you to determine which one is most appropriate. 

What is the difference between filing on no-fault grounds and fault-based grounds?

If you and your spouse agree to the divorce, you can assert no-fault grounds. If you allege fault-based grounds, you will have to prove that your spouse did something to you that establishes the fault-based grounds, such as cheated on you or acted as a habitual drunk. This can be more difficult than many people realize and adds an extra step in the divorce process.

How do I start the process of divorce?

To start the divorce process, you must file a divorce complaint with the family court in the county where you or your spouse lives. The complaint sets out certain information, such as your name and your spouse’s name, that you or your spouse have met the residency requirement, the grounds for divorce, and the legal relief you are seeking (to divide property a certain way or custody of your children, for example). You also must file a summons that states the defendant’s rights and deadline for filing a response to the complaint. Our Clarksville family law lawyers can help you with this process that requires that you follow many technical rules.

How do I serve divorce papers on my spouse?

Tennessee law requires that divorce papers, including your divorce complaint and summons, be served on your spouse. Often, these documents are served by a sheriff’s deputy or private process server you pay. However, you can serve your spouse via certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested. If you do not know where your spouse lives and cannot find out by diligent inquiry, you may be able to serve him or her via “publication.” Your lawyer can discuss these options with you.

If your spouse agrees to the service, he or she can waive the requirement to be served by filling out a form. You must file this form with the court so it knows that your spouse waived this requirement.

What can I do if my ex is not following the divorce or custody order?

If your ex does not follow the instructions included in a court order, you can take legal action to enforce the order. You may file a Petition for Contempt, which requires your spouse to show up at a hearing and explain why the court should not punish him or her for violating the court order. Some reasons to file for contempt include if the spouse fails to pay support, does not allow court-ordered visitation, or fails to give the spouse property that he or she was ordered to. The court can take a variety of actions to get the spouse to do what he or she was ordered to do, like:

  • Issue a garnishment from the spouse’s wages
  • Order the person to sign paperwork, such as turning over an interest in an IRA
  • Order the sheriff to take possession of money in a bank account
  • Jail the person

Take the First Step Today

Family law disputes can become so stressful that it is difficult to maintain objectivity in the midst of such turmoil. It is for this reason, more than any other, that your choice of a family law firm is likely to be the most important decision you make in the entire case. At Batson Nolan PLC, we have been serving clients for over 150 years, and there is a reason why we have lasted so long. Our law firm understand both the technical and the human side of family law disputes, and we simply will not rest until justice is done.

Get Help Now – Call Us Today

To schedule an initial appointment, call a committed Clarksville family law firm at (931) 647-1501 or contact us online.

We proudly serve clients in Clarksville and the communities of Fort Campbell, Springfield, Ashland City, Dickson, Dover, and Erin, we also regularly practice in Nashville and Sumner County.