Divorce is a reality for many couples across the United States. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, there were 23,804 divorces in the state in 2019. Divorce impacts the entire family, often creating major financial and emotional burdens.
No one should have to navigate the difficult process of divorce alone. Whether you have children or not, whether you and your spouse can agree on your property division or can’t agree on anything, a family law attorney can help.
Attorney Steven C. Frazier works hard for his clients in Kingsport, Tennessee and throughout northeastern Tennessee in a range of legal matters. Since 1980, he has represented Tennessee residents in matters ranging from bankruptcy to real estate, and he can provide you with strong legal representation in your divorce.
When you’re ready to file for divorce in Tennessee, it’s important to understand the residency requirements first. You’re able to file for divorce in the state if the event that caused you to file for divorce happened while you lived in Tennessee, or if you or your spouse lived in Tennessee for at least six months before filing for divorce.
It’s also important to be aware of the grounds for divorce. If there are irreconcilable differences between you and your spouse, that is a key reason to support your filing for divorce.
In a contested divorce, spouses cannot agree on their divorce issues, such as division of property, and often end up in court with a judge making those decisions for them.
Contested divorces may require the help of a family law attorney, who can assist throughout this difficult process. The attorney can gather information, collecting important details from your spouse and third-party witnesses, and can help you prepare for trial if necessary.
In Tennessee, there are a set of requirements that must be met in order to file for an uncontested, or “agreed,” divorce.
You must agree:
on how to divide you and your spouse’s shared property
on whether either of you will pay alimony and how much
that you both want the marriage to end
You must also:
not have retirement benefits
not own real estate or a business together
not be pregnant
not have any children together who are younger than 18, in high school, or disabled
All these criteria must be met, in addition to the Tennessee residency requirements, for an uncontested divorce.
In many marriages, one spouse financially supports the other. If a divorce means that you will suffer economically because you were a homemaker or parent during your marriage, then alimony, or spousal support, can help you maintain the same standard of living that you had during your marriage.
In Tennessee there are four types of alimony: rehabilitative, periodic, transitional, and lump sum. A family law attorney can help you make your case for the type of alimony you need, while a judge will make the ultimate decision. Transitional alimony is preferred in most cases.
If you and your spouse agree to separate, it’s important that you also agree on how your property is divided. In some situations, however, couples cannot come to an agreement. A family law attorney can help you make the case for the assets you need. Ultimately, in a contested divorce, you will have to go to court and a judge will decide how your assets are divided.
When there are children involved, the Tennessee courts take a special interest in divorce proceedings.
Child custody arrangements are an extremely important part of the divorce process. Either parent, or both parents, can be awarded child custody in Tennessee. There must be a parenting plan that describes how parents will care for their children after divorce. The parenting plan establishes each parent’s visitation schedule regarding:
The parenting plan must also detail who will pay child support and how much will be paid. In almost all cases, the judge will order the parent who spends less time taking care of the child to pay child support.
It can be a smart idea to establish a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is a document, signed before marriage, that states how assets will be divided (and how other legal issues will be settled) in the case of a divorce.
A postnuptial agreement, on the other hand, is signed after marriage, but it still settles legal matters such as asset division, child custody, and other issues. A family law attorney can help you determine the importance of establishing either a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
If you feel overwhelmed with family law issues like asset division, parenting plans, and more, reach out to Steven C. Frazier, Attorney At Law. You may have many questions about the divorce process here in Tennessee, and Attorney Frazier can help you answer them. He is proud to serve clients in Kingsport, Church Hill, Johnson City, Bristol, and throughout northeastern Tennessee.