Common Divorce Questions

Divorce Help for Nashville Clients

Answers to the questions we are asked the most often

Is there a more confusing and emotionally stressful time than when you are going through a divorce? All of a sudden, your whole world gets turned around and you wonder if you will ever feel normal again. In the midst of all of the life changes your mind is swirling with so many questions once your spouse has served you with divorce papers. At the law office of Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC we are ready to answer any question you might have about divorce. Let’s take a look at just a few of the common questions about the divorce process:

Q: What is the difference between a contested divorce and an uncontested divorce in Tennessee?

An uncontested divorce is, typically, a divorce where the grounds for the divorce is irreconcilable differences. Both parties agree that the relationship is beyond repair and they want out. They also agree to every single element of the divorce, property division and parenting plan/custody arrangement. A contested divorce is a divorce where the parties cannot agree on grounds for the divorce, property division, parenting plan, and other elements such as alimony and child support. Some divorces start out as “contested” but then are resolved on an uncontested basis once everyone has the information they need in order to have fruitful settlement negotiations.

Q: Is there a waiting period for a divorce in Tennessee?

There is a 60 day waiting period if there are no minor children and a 90 day waiting period if there are minor children. This period begins to run from the date the divorce complaint is filed, not from the date an agreement (Marital Dissolution Agreement) and parenting plan are signed.

Q: How does the Court divide property in Tennessee?

Tennessee is an equitable distribution state, which means that the Court divides marital property in a fair and equitable manner rather than dividing it straight down the middle 50/50 as in community property states.

Q: What is the difference between marital and separate property?

Separate property is any property that a spouse owned prior to the marriage or property that a spouse acquires during the marriage by gift or inheritance, for example. Marital property is the property that the couple has accumulated over the course of the marriage. The tricky part is that if separate property becomes comingled with marital property it can eventually become marital property.

Q: Who will get the antique heirlooms and the classic car collection?

If the antique heirlooms and the classic car collection can be considered separate property, they will go to the spouse to whom they belong. If both parties amassed the collections together over the course of the marriage, they can come to an agreement on who gets what, or the items will be appraised and the Court will divide the assets.

Q: Who will get custody of our family pet?

The courts in Tennessee consider the family pet to be property. Although typically the couple will agree that one or the other can have the pet free of any obligations to the other party, the couple could work out an agreement on where the pet will live and who will have visitation, and how they will share expenses.

Q: Will I be eligible for spousal support as part of my divorce?

The award of spousal support is at the discretion of the Court in the event the parties cannot agree on an alimony award. The Court will consider an exhaustive list of criteria in deciding whether or not alimony is appropriate on a case by case basis.

Q: What if my spouse and I can’t agree on child custody?

If you and your spouse are unable to work out an agreement on child custody, the judge will assign you to meet with a mediator who will facilitate the two of you resolving your dispute. Your attorneys can and usually do attend mediation with you.

Q: My spouse has primary residential custody and they are keeping my child from me. What can I do to spend some time with my child?

A custody order has the force of law, so if your co-parent is not allowing you to have your court-ordered parenting time with your child, that may constitute custodial interference. They can also be held in contempt of court if they do not comply with the court’s custody order. You can work with your family law attorney who will assist you in obtaining enforcement of the custody order.

Q: How does Tennessee determine child support payments?

The state of Tennessee follows the “income shares” model of calculating child support payments. They have created a free, automated child support calculator where you can get an estimate of how much child support you might be expected to pay based on your income and how many other children for whose care you are responsible.

Q: Which spouse is required to pay college expenses?

Actually, in Tennessee, neither parent is required by law to pay for their child’s college expenses, except in certain circumstances with higher-income earning parents when the Court may direct them to contribute to a college trust fund during their child’s minority to pay for their child’s college expenses in the future.

Get some solid advice from an experienced Nashville divorce attorney today

At the law firm of Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC we are here to answer your questions and guide you through your divorce and other family law disputes in the Nashville area. Call us today at 615-454-9899 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney.

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