MEMPHIS DIVORCE ATTORNEY
Personal Attention and Devotion for Each of My Clients
A divorce attorney should have the knowledge of the law to understand the relevant issues in your case and should have the compassion to take the time to learn the intricacies of your situation.
At Rasberry Family Law Group we care about our clients. We pride ourselves on the personal attention we give to each of our clients. We completely devote ourselves to each client, leaving them invested in the outcome. Get help with your Memphis divorce.
Tennessee Divorce Help
In Tennessee, most divorces are filed on the grounds of irreconcilable differences and inappropriate marital conduct. Irreconcilable differences as a ground for divorce is only applicable if you and your spouse enter into a marital dissolution agreement resolving ALL issues. This is commonly referred to as an uncontested divorce and is by far the most common ground upon which a divorce is granted in Tennessee. While many divorces are contested on issues of property, support, etc., few are actually contested on the grounds for the divorce itself. Therefore, minimal testimony will actually be required to establish why you or your spouse is seeking the divorce.
The grounds for the divorce generally have little to do with how the property will be divided or how much support will be awarded, although under certain circumstances, fault can have an impact.
In order to file for divorce in Tennessee, the filing party must be a resident for six months immediately before the filing. In addition to being a resident of the state, venue must also be established; that is, the proper county in which the case should be heard. While this will generally be the county in which the party filing the divorce resides, if the non-filing spouse resides in a different county in Tennessee, that county will be the proper place to file the divorce. There are additional avenues to jurisdiction in Tennessee. If the conduct giving rise to the divorce occurred in Tennessee, then the six month residency requirement is not applicable. It takes a lawyer with knowledge of the law in Tennessee to effectively advise you on the appropriate location to file your divorce. We at Rasberry Family Law Group, P.C., pride ourselves on keeping abreast of changes in the law and on court decisions interpreting the law. Let us help you navigate your divorce.
Grounds for Divorce in Tennessee
There are a number of grounds for divorce in Tennessee. Although a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences is considered an uncontested divorce, the only true no-fault divorce is living separate and apart for two years with no minor children. The following are the additional grounds for divorce available in Tennessee, all of which require evidence:
Inappropriate marital conduct (formally called cruel and inhuman treatment)
Impotence and inability to procreate
Desertion for one year
Conviction of a felony
Conviction of an infamous crime
Attempt on the life of one’s spouse
Refusal to move
Pregnancy by another
Habitual drunkenness or abuse of narcotic drugs
Two years separation after an order of legal separation
Areas of Practice
Temporary Support Orders in Tennessee
At the time the divorce is filed, it is often important to seek temporary court orders, which will be in effect while the divorce is pending. These temporary orders include custody and parenting time allocations, child and spousal support and temporary restraining orders to prevent abuse or the disposition of assets. The decision about if and when to file for divorce and what orders to request is a very important decision and is based upon the unique circumstances of every case. Courts are now required to issue a mandatory injunction at the time a divorce is filed. Such an injunction orders the parties not to dissipate the marital assets, not to remove the children from the jurisdiction of the court, not to harass the other party, and not to remove the children or other party from any insurance contracts. The injunction also forbids a party from destroying evidence contained on computers.
The Divorce Process in Tennessee
In Tennessee, a divorce is initiated by the filing of a complaint for divorce. Once a divorce has been filed, an answer will be filed. The answer will often contain a counterclaim, which will usually contain similar grounds as in the complaint. The answer must be filed by the opposing party within thirty days from the service of the original papers.
Discovery. Very shortly after the divorce commences, the attorneys will engage in a process called "discovery." During this process, all assets, liabilities and income will be identified and valued. This process can be undertaken informally by the attorneys or through what is known as "formal discovery," utilizing document production requests, interrogatories, depositions and subpoenas. This process can be very time consuming and complex.
Division of Property. Tennessee is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the law requires that all of the property be divided in a fair and equitable fashion. Equitable does not necessarily mean equal, although the law presumes an equal division as a starting point. Generally speaking, property brought into the marriage by either party is that party's separate, non-marital property. Also, property received during the marriage by one party as a gift or inheritance will be considered non-marital property. All property acquired during the marriage with marital funds or through marital effort will be deemed to be marital, regardless of how it is titled. Property owned by one party prior to the marriage but which has increased in value may be considered a mixed asset. What is marital and what is non-marital is often the subject of dispute in a divorce and often requires detailed and complicated tracing efforts. We have experience in the tracing of assets for divorce purposes.
Many property issues revolve around the value of the property itself, particularly if there is a professional practice or business involved. Expert witnesses may be required to assist in the valuation process. We are experienced in dealing with complex business valuations and we work with highly trained experts in this field.
Spousal Support. Tennessee has a spousal support statute, setting forth several factors that the court must consider in determining the amount and duration of spousal support. At the present time, there are no guidelines or formulas as to how the court should award spousal support. Spousal support cases are by nature very individual and often unpredictable. In a long marriage or one in which one spouse sacrificed a career to stay home with children, spousal support might be the most difficult issue to resolve. We are very experienced in negotiating and litigating complicated spousal support issues and in working with vocational experts and economists to assist in the presentation of the case.
Parental Rights and Responsibilities. In Tennessee, the law provides for both shared parenting and sole custody. Generally, one parent is designated as the "primary residential parent" of the child or children and the other parent is designated as the “alternate residential parent.” Effective July 1, 2011, there is requirement that the courts favor shared parenting. However, such a requirement still must consider what is in the best interest of the minor child or children. Shared parenting is not appropriate in every case. While we try very hard to resolve parenting issues outside of court and often with the assistance of a mediator, we are experienced and well-known for handling high-conflict custody cases.
Child Support. All states have child support guidelines, which set forth how child support is to be determined. Parents are required to support their children until they turn 18 or until they graduate from high school. The support obligation can continue indefinitely for a disabled child. Tennessee is an income-shares state, which means that child support is calculated by examining the total family income and then apportioning the support obligation. Careful preparation and presentation of evidence is necessary to ensure a fair and reasonable child support award. We are experienced in the preparation, settlement and litigation of child support issues.
Uncontested Divorces. An uncontested divorce is one that is granted on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. This method of divorce is used when a complete settlement has been reached on all issues of property, spousal support, child support and parenting. After both parties have signed a marital dissolution agreement, and, if appropriate, a permanent parenting plan, the case is presented to the court for approval of the agreement and any parenting agreements that have been entered into. Many people perceive that an uncontested divorce is faster and less costly than a contested divorce. This is not necessarily the case. The same information gathering is necessary in this type of divorce. Property must be valued, documents obtained, parenting issues resolved, etc. Negotiations must take place on each of these issues. Only after there has been full disclosure and valuation of all of the assets can an agreement be reached.
Generally speaking, both parties are represented by counsel, particularly when there are substantial assets and/or parenting issues to be resolved. Many people believe that only one lawyer is required in an uncontested divorce and that both parties can be represented by the same attorney; however, that is rarely the case. In fact, one attorney can only represent one party. A party can choose to waive his or her right to counsel, but he or she will have to sign a written waiver of the right to counsel.
A divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences can be granted in no fewer than sixty days if there are no children involved and no fewer than ninety days with children. However, many months can be spent negotiating the settlement. For this reason it is not necessarily faster to proceed by this method.
Learn More about Divorce in Memphis
Rely on Rasberry Family Law Group to protect your interests and those of your family in the Tennessee court system. Contact us now to discuss your family law concern.
We serve clients in Germantown, Millington, Cordova, Bartlett, Collierville, Shelby County, Fayette County & Tipton County
Contact a Tennessee Divorce Lawyer for a Free Consultation
To schedule a free and confidential thirty-minute consultation at our convenient office in Memphis, Tennessee, Call us at 901-567-721 by email at JohnnyR1066@gmail.com