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Tennessee divorces can be complicated. What most people don't understand is that the lawyer you choose to represent you will have a large role in dictating how your case will proceed, whether it will be stressful, expensive, civilized, and fair.
My goals are to build relationships with my clients and attorneys alike, with an eye towards solving your problems rather than creating "issues" to be litigated. This approach helps to create and foster win-win solutions between you and your spouse and you will ultimately reach a better settlement as a result.
Servicing Middle TN
Cartwright Law, LLC provides representation and legal counsel to those individuals who are seeking to end their marriage in a civilized manner. If you live in the Middle Tennessee area, then this firm may be able to help you. Office is conveniently located in Murfreesboro. You should take advantage of the free consultation. If anything, you get feedback on how the law relates to the facts in your situation.
Cartwright Law is unique in that most divorces can be given a set price after the consultation depending on the facts of the situation. Most attorneys will work off the billable hour which can add even more stress due to the financial unknowns.
Frequently Asked Questions
My spouse is cheating on me. What does that mean for my divorce?
Tennessee law considers adultery to mean sexual relations with anyone other than your spouse. Adultery is a ground for divorce in Tennessee. It is important to know that "fault" does not affect property division in a divorce. Tennessee law requires the court to divide up the marital assets "equitably" not necessarily "equally." Even though one spouses cheating shouldn't affect property division; it does and can have an affect on whether or not alimony is awarded to the non-cheating spouse. When it comes to alimony, the Court can and does consider fault. This is where cheating comes into the equation along with many other factors.
How long does a divorce take?
This is a question in which the answer is; it depends. There is a waiting period in Tennessee requiring a minimum length time from filing for divorce until the divorce can be granted. If the parties have no children, there is a waiting period of 60 days. If there are children between the parties, there is a 90 day waiting period for the final divorce decree. So, there is at least a 60 or 90 day wait depending on kids or no kids. There is no wait on filing for the divorce, so don't get that confused. Some states do have waiting periods based on the separation prior to filing for the divorce. The Tennessee waiting period starts upon the filing for the divorce. After that, it depends on whether the divorce is contested or not. Some contested divorces can drag on for months depending on the parties.
My spouse cleaned out our checking and savings accounts. What do I do?
Unfortunately, this is all too common. However, the Court has authority to award temporary alimony, child support, and attorney's fees while the divorce is pending. The primary goal is to maintain the status quo including that the existing mortgages and other bills get paid. Your attorney can file what's called a "Pendente Lite" motion. This is a latin word meaning "pending litigation." Your attorney can set up a hearing in front of the judge to argue for this temporary support. The Tennessee law in regards to alimony comes down to need and ability to pay. This means the Court considers your needs and the other spouses ability to pay.
How much does a divorce cost?
Unfortunately, every situation is different. However, depending on the particular facts; the goal is to give a flat fee for the legal service. If it is a non-contested divorce with no children, typically the cost is $475. If it is a non-contested divorce with children, the cost will be $750. Some variations may occur depending on the particular facts. When it comes to contested divorces, the goal is also to give flat fees depending on the situation. The fees will be based on information given in the initial consultation.
Do I need to redo my estate plan?
Absolutely. The best time to update your estate planning documents are before you actually separate from your spouse and a lawsuit gets filed. If one of you files a lawsuit, you may be able to update some documents, but you would be discouraged from transferring title to any assets until after the divorce is finalized. However, there are some items that you may want to update regardless of where you are in the divorce process:
- Life Insurance -- You will want to update your beneficiary designations.
- Retirement -- If your funds accumulated in your retirement account were earned during your marriage, then they may be constituted marital property. However, there are factors on whether the retirement account was set up before or after marriage. Best to speak with an attorney on this one.
- Jointly owned property -- Marital properties typically get re-titled or sold during the divorce process. If they haven't, you will need to update your estate planning documents accordingly.
Estate planning isn't always about financial assets. There are other documents that you must consider updating as well. These include your financial durable power of attorney, you healthcare power of attorney, and your living will. If you currently have these documents in place and they name your spouse as your agent, they must be revoked. That is unless you want your ex-spouse managing your financial affairs or making end-of-life decisions for you if you become incapacitated.
Once you are legally divorced, you may update or amend any estate planning documents that you could do as a single person. Make sure divorce is final and all property has been distributed according to court orders.
This firm has an estate planning practice that can help with this process.
My spouse refuses to move out. What do I do?
This is probably one of the most difficult and frequently asked questions I get. The question is especially difficult to answer when children are involved. Legally speaking, in the absence of domestic violencethere is not much a court can do to force you or your spouse out of the marital home. When deciding whether you or your spouse should move out, there are several issues that should be considered:
- In who's name is the marital home, yours, your spouses, joint?
- Who is primarily responsible for the mortgage on the home?
- How badly do you want to keep the marital home in a property settlement?
- Which party is seeking the divorce?
- If there are children involved, have you and your spouse agreed on a custody schedule?
If, however, you have decided that it is your spouse that must go -- what do you do if they refuse to leave? The best option is typically to start negotiating an agreement with your spouse and let them know that when an agreement is reached, you anticipate they will vacate the marital home. This may seem like a daunting task, and you wouldn't be wrong. There can be stubborn spouses to say the least. Perhaps they haven't come to grips that the marriage is over. Perhaps they can't afford to move out. Perhaps they are looking to gain an advantage over you in settlement negotiations. At this point, you must look very seriously at other legal options and may need to engage in a lawyer to help you.
Can I get alimony in my divorce?
Alimony can be paid before or after a divorce in Tennessee. It comes down to the need for the spouse requesting alimony and the ability to pay on the other spouse. Prior to divorce, alimony can be awarded in temporary form as discussed above. There are 4 types of Tennessee alimony. For more information, click below:
Family Law Resources for Tennessee:
Call to set up consultation or fill out contact form. Phone 615.785.2909