Experienced Springfield Divorce Attorneys Ready To Serve You
Divorce proceedings are fraught with peril. So much is at stake that it can be difficult to maintain composure. At Batson Nolan PLC, our proven Springfield divorce lawyers have been there many times before – in fact, many of our lawyers have endured their own divorce proceedings. As difficult as it can be to face a seemingly impersonal legal system under such emotionally charged conditions, it can be done. And you can achieve an outcome that is best for all parties concerned.
At Batson Nolan PLC, we pride ourselves on compassionate but aggressive representation of our divorce clients. Our Springfield divorce attorneys don’t try to pick a fight, of course, but we won’t back down from one either – if that is what it takes to protect your interests and ensure a fair result for you. And after more than 150 years of representing clients, there isn’t much that can happen that we haven’t seen before and prepared for thoroughly.
I consulted with the family law attorneys at Batson Nolan to help me create a parenting plan as part of my divorce. The entire process was a very stressful time for me, but my attorney took the time to explain every step along the way and I walked away with a fair plan. – Brian G.Contents hide
Different Types of Divorce
An uncontested divorce is the easiest, least complicated, and least expensive divorce that is available in Tennessee (and in most states). It is also likely the least emotionally exhausting type of divorce to go through. In uncontested cases, the divorce is said to be “no-fault” and based on irreconcilable differences. To get an uncontested divorce, spouses must be able to sit down together and work through all the details of the divorce in an amicable way. They can look at issues like the division of property and assets, division and responsibility of debt, and child custody arrangements, and they are able to reach agreements on all matters. If even a relatively trivial matter cannot be resolved, then the divorce is contested and must follow the procedure for contested divorces.
Contested divorces are just what they sound like: divorces where full agreement cannot be reached by the spouses, so they need a judge to step in and make the final decision on contested matters. Obviously, these are more complex cases than uncontested divorces. They cost more in terms of money, time, and emotional toll on the couple.
If you file for a contested divorce in Tennessee, you will have to claim grounds besides irreconcilable differences upon which you base your divorce and you will have to prove these grounds. Contested divorces can be based on any of many factors, including but not limited to:
- Either party was impotent or incapable of procreation at the time of the marriage
- Abuse of alcohol or drugs
- One year or longer of willful or malicious desertion
- The couple has no children and has been living apart for 2 years or more
- Abuse of one spouse by the other such that remaining together endangers the abused spouse or other inappropriate marital conduct
- Conviction of a felony and/or incarceration
- If it is found that, prior to the marriage, the wife got pregnant by someone other than the husband and didn’t tell him
- Either spouse attempts to kill the other
- One spouse refuses to move to Tennessee with the other spouse without reasonable cause, and therefore the couple has not lived together for 2 years or more
- Refusal to support other spouses despite the ability to do so
High Net Worth
High net worth divorces come with their own set of issues because spouses who anticipate such a divorce can be very skilled at hiding assets. Determining the accurate value of the marital estate can be complex and require a very experienced eye that knows where to look for hidden assets. These divorces have a great deal of money at stake and can, unfortunately, drag on for years. So it is in your best interest to have a proven Springfield divorce attorney experienced in these types of cases in your corner.
Full-Service Legal Representation for Divorcing Spouses in Springfield
As our client, our trusted Springfield divorce attorneys will work closely with you to gain a clear understanding of your current family circumstances and help you make smart, strategic decisions about all aspects of the divorce process. This includes:
Virtually all divorces involve the division of the couple’s marital property. Our divorce legal team can help you identify the assets that are on the table in your divorce (as well as those that aren’t), place an appropriate value on those assets, protect the assets that matter most, and ensure that you receive an appropriate share of your marital estate.
Child Custody and Visitation
If you have minor children, then securing your desired custody or visitation rights will be a key aspect of your divorce. Our Springfield child custody lawyers can use Tennessee’s “best interests” factors to build a compelling case for your proposed parenting plan, and we can fight for your desired parenting rights in mediation or in court, if necessary.
While calculating child support is one of the more straightforward aspects of the divorce process, complications can arise. Our Springfield divorce attorneys can ensure that your obligation to pay or right to receive child support is consistent with Tennessee law.
In contrast to child support, spousal support (or alimony) is perhaps the most discretionary aspect of the divorce process. Whether you are seeking to obtain financial support after your divorce or your goal is to pay as little spousal support as possible (if any), we can use our experience to your advantage.
Additional Considerations during the Divorce Process
In addition to property division, child custody and visitation, and financial support, there are various ancillary issues that divorcing spouses must address when ending their marriage as well. As part of our full-service approach, we guide our clients through the process of thoroughly addressing each of these issues, helping them explore their options and make informed decisions based on their personal priorities and long-term needs. Depending on the circumstances involved in your divorce, this may include addressing issues such as:
Generally, the process of distributing divorcing spouses’ assets does not have Tennessee or federal income tax implications. However, certain property-related transactions can trigger tax liability (such as selling appreciated assets in order to divide the proceeds of the sale), and spousal support arrangements can potentially have significant tax ramifications as well. Our Springfield divorce lawyers can help you structure your divorce settlement to minimize the tax burdens involved.
If you have an estate plan, it will be important to update your estate plan in conjunction with your divorce. If your estate plan designates your spouse as your health care surrogate and gives him or her the right to your property after your death, these provisions will not change as a result of your divorce. In addition to providing divorce representation, our Springfield divorce attorneys have significant estate planning experience as well, and we can help you revise your plan to reflect your new family circumstances.
College Tuition and Expenses
As a general rule, college tuition and expenses are not covered by child support arrangements in Tennessee. However, ensuring that your children’s other parent will contribute to their higher education expenses could be of critical importance, and there are various ways to address this issue during the divorce process.
Retirement Assets and Distributions
Dealing with retirement accounts and distributions during the divorce process also presents some unique considerations. Due to the federal rules regarding the tax benefits of IRAs, 401(k)s, and pension plans, there are specific procedural requirements for dividing retirement assets in a divorce. Our Springfield divorce lawyers are intimately familiar with these rules and can help you preserve your future financial stability.
With increasing frequency, some divorcing spouses are choosing to co-parent after bringing their marriage to an end. With co-parenting, parents eschew a traditional custody-and-visitation arrangement in lieu of continuing to jointly play active roles in their children’s lives. If co-parenting is of interest to you, our Springfield divorce attorneys can walk you through the process of addressing all of the issues involved.
Cooperation vs. Confrontation
Some divorces are amicable, and some turn into gutter wars. Most of the time, they lie somewhere in between these two extremes, especially if there are children involved. Indeed, family courts strongly encourage negotiated settlements of divorce issues as long as the best interests of the children are protected. At Batson Nolan PLC, our Springfield divorce attorneys know how to skillfully combine cooperation with competition to ensure the fairest possible result for you.
“Very friendly, affordable, and fast. If you need any legal matters handled, they will get it done and fast. Thanks again.” – James Simon, April 10, 2018
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How is property division determined during a divorce?
The popular idea that “each spouse gets half” is not the law in Tennessee, although it does serve as a rough approximation absent complicating circumstances. Tennessee is an equitable division state, not a community property state like California. The following factors are relevant:
- The duration of the marriage
- The ages of the spouses
- The health of each spouse
- The earning capacity and financial situation of each spouse
- How the particular property was acquired (inherited property might be considered the individual property of the spouse that inherited it, for example)
- Whether either party wasted marital assets (with a gambling addiction, for example, or by using marital assets to support a secret mistress)
How long do I have to reside in Tennessee before I can file for divorce?
To file for divorce in Tennessee, your marriage needn’t have taken place in Tennessee. Normally, you must have been domiciled in Tennessee for at least six months – although this period can be shortened to virtually zero in extenuating circumstances such as domestic abuse. To be domiciled in Tennessee means you live in Tennessee indefinitely with no current plans to move out of state. If you have additional questions about residency or any other matter, call us and talk to a highly knowledgeable Springfield divorce lawyer today.
What are the grounds for divorce in Tennessee?
Tennessee offers both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce, including but not limited to:
- Irreconcilable differences (no-fault)
- Two years of separation if the couple has no children (no-fault)
- Impotence or barrenness on the marriage date (fault)
- Bigamy or polygamy (fault)
- Adultery (fault)
- Desertion (fault)
- The wife was pregnant with a third person’s child on the wedding date (fault)
- Habitual drunkenness or drug abuse (fault)
- Cruel and inhuman treatment (fault)
How long does it take to get a divorce in Tennessee?
The minimum under Tennessee law is 60 days after the petition has been filed if the couple has no children, or 90 days if they have at least one child. Amicable divorces are usually wrapped up within six months. Contested divorces often take a year, and sometimes much longer than that. Complicating factors include substantial wealth, complex finances, and multiple minor children.
If my spouse and I are ending our marriage on good terms, do we still each need our own attorney?
Even with both spouses are on the same page with regard to getting divorced, dividing their assets, and deciding how to split time with their children, it is still generally advisable for each spouse to independently seek legal representation. There are a number of reasons why:
First, you need to make sure that you have not overlooked any issues. For example, if you have mistakenly identified an asset as separate property (rather than marital property), the failure to distribute the asset during your divorce could create problems down the line. Likewise, when dividing certain types of assets (and debts), additional documentation may be necessary outside of the divorce process.
Second, you need to make sure that your agreement is legally enforceable. While divorcing spouses have significant leeway to craft property distributions, all custody-related decisions must adhere to Tennessee’s “best interests of the child” standard, and child support calculations must be consistent with the requirements of Tennessee law.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, getting divorced is a legal process that can have a profound impact on the rest of your life. You need to make informed decisions. And while maintaining amicability is certainly a relevant consideration, ultimately, you need to do what is best for you. By working with a legal practitioner who only has your best interests in mind, you can finalize your divorce feeling confident that you have adequately protected your interests and set yourself up for the future.
When should someone consider divorce mediation?
Divorce mediation can be a good option if you and your spouse are willing to work together but you are unable to reach a complete agreement on your own. Unlike going to court where a judge makes the final decision for you, in mediation, you control the final outcome. You and your spouse (and your respective lawyers) will work with the mediator to identify mutual goals, develop and consider creative alternatives, and work toward a resolution that works for you and your spouse.
Can the terms of a divorce be modified in Tennessee?
Yes, but only under limited circumstances. When going through a divorce, it is important not to rely on the ability to make changes down the line. You should consider the outcome of your divorce to be final. And if circumstances change unexpectedly in the future, then you can seek the necessary modification.
Is alimony available in Tennessee?
Yes, Tennessee law recognizes four types of alimony: (i) rehabilitative alimony, (ii) transitional alimony, (iii) alimony in solido, and (iv) alimony in futuro. All alimony determinations are subject to a set of statutory factors, and any decisions regarding alimony should be made with relevant tax and other considerations in mind.
Does my child have any say in which parent they want to live with in Tennessee?
Yes and no. Children under the age of 12 really have no input as to which parent they will live within Tennessee. However, at the age of 12 and beyond, the court will hear a child’s preference. They can testify in court or in the judge’s chambers and explain to the judge who they wish to live with and why. The judge will then ask questions and dig a bit deeper into the “why” of the child’s desire.
Each case is as unique, and it is up to the judge to determine what is in the best interests of the child when the parents cannot agree. Keep in mind that, if the parents can agree to a parenting plan, then none of this is necessary. It is only when the parents cannot agree that the judge is asked to make the decision.
The judge will try and determine if the reasons the child is seeking one parent over the other is a genuine reason, or if it is because the child seeks to live with the “permissive” parent over the one who doles out discipline. And the older the child gets, the more weight the judge will give the child’s testimony.
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Can I Stop My Spouse From Moving Away with Our Child?
In today’s modern society, it is not uncommon for one parent to take a higher paying job in another state. Disputes commonly come up in a divorce or after an initial custody order when the nonrelocating parent opposes the move. Parental relocation is one of the most hotly contested matters that can arise in family law. Depending on the distance, the nonrelocating parent stands to miss out on the child’s entire day-to-day life. Our Springfield divorce lawyers understand what’s at stake for you and your family. If it comes to litigation, we know how to fight to maximize your parental rights.
With respect to divorce proceedings, our Springfield divorce attorneys will guide you through the process of designating primary residential parent status, and setting your parenting time. In the event your ex intends to move far away, your spouse will need to demonstrate to the court that moving is in your child’s best interest. Because of what is at stake, this process can be very contentious. Our Springfield divorce lawyers can ensure your voice is heard.
In the event you already have a parenting plan, your case will proceed according to Tennessee’s parental relocation laws. Tennessee’s parental relocation laws kick in when one parent seeks to move out of state or more than 50 miles from the other in-state parent. Assuming you both exercise “intervals,” of time (consecutive overnights) with the child, Tennessee law requires your ex-spouse to notify you and explain their reason for the proposed relocation. They must then give you 30 days to oppose the relocation in court. Our Springfield divorce lawyers understand these notice requirements and their importance. If your ex-spouse fails to adequately notify you pursuant to Tennessee law, you are still entitled to a fair opportunity to object. In such an event, we will litigate to prevent the relocation until you’ve had an opportunity to be heard.
At the hearing, the judge will determine whether it is in the best interest of the child to relocate with the relocating parent. The court will consider several factors including:
- The quality of the child’s relationship with each parent and other family members;
- The impact on the child’s development;
- The feasibility of preserving the child’s relationship with the non-relocating parent through suitable visitation arrangements;
- The preference of the child if the child is 12 years of age or older;
- The relocating parent’s propensity to nurture a relationship between the child and nonrelocating parent;
- Whether relocation would provide any financial or emotional benefit or educational opportunity for the child;
- Each parent’s reasons for proposing or opposing the relocation; and
- Any other factors affecting the best interest of the child.
Parental relocation cases are very fact-intensive and at times unpredictable. Don’t go it alone. If your spouse or partner is trying to move out of state with your child, we can help. Contact the Springfield divorce attorneys at Baton Nolan for a free consultation.
Our Springfield Divorce Lawyers Can Guide You Through the Process
At Batson Nolan PLC, our attorneys understand what a difficult time this must be for you, and we don’t want to make it any worse than it has to be. Our skilled divorce attorney in Springfield will guide you through the process, and we will not create any unnecessary conflict – as long as your interests are protected.
If you are anticipating a divorce in Springfield, Tennessee, contact us online. Our Springfield office is right across the street from the courthouse. Our Springfield divorce lawyers have been serving Springfield for years. Our former clients hail from Blackpatch, Barren Plains, Lakeside Estates, Saddlebrook, and elsewhere in town. If you have any other family legal matters concerns, please contact our family legal matters firm to discuss them.
Batson & Nolan PLC is a full-service law firm. We represent a variety of legal matters in Springfield, including: