By: Katheryn M. Ogle
Ending a marriage is a complicated, trying, and complex experience. One must address everything that has been part of their marriage. This can include money, children, property division, stress, as well as a full gamut of emotional chaos.
One of the most important assets you can have during a divorce is your lawyer. As your ally, it is essential to tell your lawyer the entire story of your marriage, the good, the bad, and the ugly, so she can be fully prepared to navigate you through the divorce process.
In Tennessee, there are two primary routes for obtaining a divorce.
- Irreconcilable Differences Divorce – This is a “no-fault” divorce. The parties have a property settlement agreement and agree to a parenting plan.
- Contested Divorce –This type of divorce is filed based on some type of inappropriate marital conduct. Which includes, but is not limited to adultery, desertion, impotency, bigamy, criminal conviction of a felony, attempt upon the life of the spouse, habitual drunkenness or abuse of narcotic drugs, or other reasons recognized by Tennessee law.
The Court’s goal is to divide the marital assets, assign alimony, and determine custody and support of the minor children equitably.
This does not mean everything is split right down the middle. That is why it is crucial to have an experienced lawyer to ensure your interests are protected and represented.
The Court will consider several factors in this equitable division of assets, and in determining the need for a party to receive spousal support, more commonly known as alimony. Some of those factors include:
- Duration of the marriage
- Age, health, earning capacity, and financial needs of each party
- Contribution by one party to the education or earning power of another
- Ability of the parties to earn
- The separate property of each spouse
Social media, text messages, and emails may be used against you in a contested divorce.
In today’s internet society, regardless of your privacy and security settings of social media accounts, your photos, posts, and sometimes your whereabouts are accessible. It will be hard to convince the Court of faithfulness or soberness when posts say otherwise.
Divorces take time.
Once the necessary documents for the divorce have been filed with the Court, and there are no minor children involved, there is a mandatory 60-day waiting period for a divorce to be final, even if the parties have filed an agreement with the Court at the outset. If there are minor children, the period extends to 90 days. Keep in mind, these time periods for finalization are the bare minimum allowed by law. If the parties have not reached an agreement on every issue that must be addressed and divided, then the divorce will require additional time outside this window to be finalized. Divorces involving minor children also require that the parties attempt the mediation process prior to the court hearing a divorce trial.
McDonald, Levy & Taylor, PLLC
The lawyers at McDonald, Levy & Taylor are experienced in all aspects of the divorce process. In your initial consultation, we will discuss a plan with you that is specifically tailored to your needs. We will then draft and file the necessary documents with the Court, and help you be prepared every step of the way. Our goal is to be the strong arm in your corner while showing compassion and respect in this challenging chapter in your life. We hope you never need us, but if you do, we are here for you.
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