Protecting Your Interests In A Tennessee Divorce
There are primarily two ways to get divorced in Tennessee. If you and your spouse can agree to all the terms of your divorce you can file for a divorce based upon “irreconcilable differences.” This is often called an uncontested divorce or divorce by mutual agreement. Divorce, even if uncontested, can often cause stress and anxiety. Clients need a reliable lawyer to ease the stress of divorce by guiding them through all the necessary steps, and advising them on what to do and what to avoid. Saenz & Maniatis, PLLC, can assist you in your divorce process from start to finish, and their experience can ensure your divorce process is streamlined with no unnecessary delays.
If you and your spouse want to file for an uncontested divorce Saenz & Maniatis, PLLC, can assist you in the following ways:
- Complaint for divorce: Uncontested divorces can be filed under the grounds of “irreconcilable differences,” however, there is still specific statutory language required in your complaint for divorce. Saenz & Maniatis, PLLC, can ensure that your complaint is properly drafted and filed with the court, ensuring no unnecessary delays or waiting periods while your divorce is pending.
- Marital dissolution agreement: Once your complaint for divorce has been filed, your agreement can be finalized in a written document called the “marital dissolution agreement” or “MDA.” Spouses can file for a divorce without the services of an attorney, however, they often run into many problems with defects in their filings, prolonging and potentially jeopardizing the divorce proceedings. Saenz & Maniatis, PLLC, can provide the experience necessary to properly draft your legal documents.
- Permanent parenting plan: If you and your spouse have children, Saenz & Maniatis, PLLC, can guide you through creating a permanent parenting plan outlining parental visitation and child support to take place after your divorce is final. Child support is mandatory under the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines, which function under an “income shares” model, where both parents share in the financial support of their minor children. Saenz & Maniatis, PLLC, can advise you on how the guidelines work, and assist you in formulating your agreement in the best interest of your child.
- Final hearing: Saenz & Maniatis, PLLC, will represent you during your final hearing where your divorce will be granted. Before your final hearing is set, Saenz & Maniatis, PLLC, will make sure that you have complied with all filing fees, deadlines, notice requirements, mandatory waiting periods and statutorily required legal language.
Saenz & Maniatis, PLLC, can assist you in filing for your divorce when you and your spouse disagree on how your divorce will be settled. If an amicable solution to your divorce cannot be reached, you will need to assert a ground for divorce such as, but not limited to:
- Inappropriate marital conduct
- Cruel and inhuman treatment
- Habitual drunkenness
- Convictions for certain crimes
Parties involved in a contested divorce will encounter complex issues, and can benefit from exceptional representation from an attorney who has their client’s best interests and financial concerns in mind. When no agreement between parties is met, the court must intervene and determine how all marital property will be divided, and how custody will be arranged if there are minor children.
Property belonging to the parties in a divorce can be classified as either “separate property” or “marital property.” Although there are exceptions, separate property consists of property belonging to a spouse prior to the marriage, or received as a gift or part of an inheritance during the marriage. Property received during the marriage will often be considered marital property if both parties jointly share the property or pay for the property with joint funds. Property can be considered marital property even if only one spouse’s name is on the title or deed. Marital property will need to be divided between both parties at the time of divorce. Several factors go into determining whether property is marital or separate:
- Length of the marriage
- Financial position of each spouse
- Amount of separate property for each spouse
- Ability of each spouse to acquire future property
- Age, health and work skills for each spouse
- Tax consequences
The court will also have to determine how every debt will be paid and which party will be responsible for its payment. The court will assign debts while considering such things as who created the debt, the purpose for the debt, who benefited from the debt and who can afford to pay the debt. Just like marital property, even though a certain debt may only be in one spouse’s name, both parties can be liable for any unpaid debt.