Tennessee Divorce Lawyer Offers Knowledgeable Counsel to Clients
Helping Rutherford County residents through a difficult change in life
The dissolution of a marriage can be a trying and emotionally charged time for all concerned, requiring crucial decisions about how your shared property will be divided and how your children will be cared for. At Gasser Law, PLLC in Smyrna, I can offer you the individualized attention and hands-on approach you need to guide you through the process and effectively represent your interests. My knowledge of Tennessee family law enables me to address all of your concerns and priorities.
Fault vs. no-fault divorce in Tennessee
Most people opt for no fault divorce, which is faster and easier to obtain. It requires only that you and your spouse have been separated for at least two years, allege irreconcilable differences between you and agree to equitable settlement of property, alimony, child custody and child support. If you cannot come to agreement on these issues, you may have to allege one of the fault grounds for divorce, which include adultery, desertion for one year, abandonment for two years, bigamy and cruelty, including domestic violence. Alleging fault grounds for divorce may have a bearing on how the court disposes of certain issues in the case, such as alimony, child custody and visitation.
Divorce procedures vary in complexity
In Tennessee, divorces run the gamut from “agreed divorces,” which require only the filing of forms and a 60-day waiting period, to full, drawn-out disputes over property and parenting issues. A contested divorce begins with a complaint alleging the grounds that must be proved. The other spouse files an answer that may allege grounds as well. Both parties are subject to a discovery process in which they provide information about their assets and finances. Most all contested divorces are required to go first to mediation before being put on trial track. If mediation can achieve resolution of the major contested issues, the divorce can be finalized without trial.
Marital property division
One of the things the family court does in a divorce is to decide how to equitably distribute the divorcing couple’s marital property, which includes all assets acquired during the marriage. Not subject to distribution is separate property, defined as that which was acquired by each spouse before marriage (or during marriage in exchange for such property), acquired as gifts or inheritance or acquired after separation. Separate property also includes the value of pensions, stock options, retirement and other employment benefits that accrued during the marriage.
Classifying property as marital or separate is sometimes complicated. Income from or increases in the value of separate property during marriage may be marital property if both spouses substantially contributed to its preservation and appreciation. Recoveries for personal injury, workers’ compensation, social security disability and similar legal actions are marital property to the extent they are for wages lost during marriage, reimbursement for medical bills paid for by marital property or compensation for damage to marital property.
Alimony and cohabitation
A spouse entitled to alimony from the other spouse after divorce will lose that right if he or she cohabits with someone else. Cohabitation means not merely living together but actually assuming the duties and obligations expected of married couples.
Contact a knowledgeable divorce attorney in Tennessee
Whether you seek or are defending against a divorce, you need a capable attorney to advise and represent you. Call Gasser Law PLLC at 615-267-0588 or contact me online to schedule a free initial consultation at my Smyrna office.