For Guidance in a Variety of Legal Matters CALL TO MEET WITH ME TODAY

Common Misconceptions About Divorce

Steven C. Frazier, Attorney At Law April 10, 2022

Signing Divorce PapersMarriage was a major step in your life. Divorcing after building a life together is an even bigger one. If you are considering divorce or have been served with divorce papers, you will find many well-intentioned family members and friends offering you advice about divorce.

Unfortunately, much of what they tell you will be neither accurate nor helpful. For this step in your life, you need to work with facts.

For more than 30 years, Attorney Steven C. Frazier has been giving divorcing clients in Kingsport, Johnson City, Church Hill, Bristol, and throughout Northeastern Tennessee the facts they need to make crucial decisions.

Below are a few of the common misconceptions surrounding divorce. Start here and then call Steven C. Frazier, Attorney At Law for experienced legal counsel and advocacy in your divorce.

You can withhold a divorce from your spouse.

A spouse can delay but cannot prevent the other spouse from getting a divorce in Tennessee. Tennessee law provides for fault and no-fault divorce. In the latter, no grounds for divorce are necessary other than both spouses agreeing that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

In a fault divorce, the petition alleges grounds such as infidelity, long separation, alcohol or drug abuse, and many others. It makes sense that in most fault divorces, the petition for divorce will be filed by the wronged spouse. Once served with divorce papers, the other spouse can refuse to file an answer to the petition within 30 days, but that does not stop the divorce from happening. The petitioning spouse can ask for a hearing date from the court at which time the judge can enter a default judgment in favor of the petitioning spouse and grant the dissolution.

If there are grounds, such as adultery,
the wronged spouse gets everything.

Tennessee is not a community property state, so marital property is divided equitably – not equally – in divorce. Equitable distribution of property acquired during the marriage will be based on multiple factors, such as each spouse’s contribution during the marriage. However, distribution will not be determined solely by the fault of one spouse.

If the spouses agree to issues regarding property division, they can ask the court to approve it. If there is a default judgment against the non-filing spouse for failure to file a response to the petition and appear in court, the filing spouse will be awarded the property requested by that spouse.

The divorce must be filed in
the state you were married in.

To file for divorce in Tennessee, either you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least six months. Most states have a minimum residency requirement which means that if you or your spouse have established residency in another state, the divorce can be filed in that state, but where you were married has no bearing on the matter.

Mothers are always awarded
primary custody of minor children.

Child custody may be awarded to one or both parents in Tennessee, and the gender of the parent plays no role in that decision. Rather, what the court decides is in the best interest of the child is the guiding principle.

Factors that are taken into consideration included the child’s stability in the home, school, and neighborhood environment, each parent’s ability and willingness to provide a stable environment and encourage the other parent’s involvement in the child’s life, and even the preference of the child if they’re mature enough to express a preference. There are several other factors considered, including parenting skills, the physical and mental health status of each parent, and any history of domestic violence or abuse.

If the other parent doesn’t make child support
payments, I don’t have to let them see the child.

Although non-payment of court-ordered child support is frustrating and can cause tremendous financial stress, a parent cannot violate the terms of a court-ordered child custody agreement. Visitation must be allowed as ordered or the withholding parent can be held legally accountable for violating the order. There are other processes for reporting non-payment of child support and enforcement of the child support order unrelated to the visitation schedule.

How Legal Counsel Can Help

Divorce can be complicated, but working with the facts, not the misconceptions, can help make it less confusing. Attorney Steven C. Frazier always works with the facts and helps his clients fully understand what they are facing in a divorce.

If you are considering divorce or have been served with divorce papers in Kingsport, Tennessee, or in the surrounding areas, call Steven C. Frazier, Attorney At Law. Begin this process with the facts. Call now.