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Knoxville Family Law Blog

Are your fathers' rights being ignored by your ex and the state?

Your marriage may not have been successful but you always felt you were a good dad. As part of your divorce settlement, you wanted shared custody of your children, but things said in court resulted in your ex achieving full custody and you limited visitation time. Now, you are lucky if your ex lets you see your kids at all. What can you do if your fathers' rights are being ignored by your ex and Tennessee courts?

While most states, Tennessee included, are moving toward allowing parents to equally share custody of their children, sometimes the court deems visitation rather that split custody necessary. Usually, substantiated claims of abuse or addiction must exist for this to happen. The key word here: substantiated. Without evidence that you are a danger to your child or are unfit to properly raise your child, there is no reason to refuse your shared custody request.

Are you really ready for the divorce process?

When ending one's marriage, preparation is key. Those who go in without a plan tend to walk away with less than they deserve or find that the divorce process takes far longer than it should. Here are a few things that Tennessee residents can do to prepare for the divorce process.

First, it is important to know what marital assets and debts one has. In many couples, only one spouse really knows where they stand financially. Not knowing what assets and debts are in play during the dissolution process can come back to bite the individual who failed to take an interest in the marital finances during the marriage. Before pulling the trigger on the divorce, take stock of assets and debts so that there are no surprises when it comes time to discuss property division.

How long will my divorce take?

Are you ready to get out of your marriage and move on with your life? If you are, you likely want this to happen as soon as possible, but you understand that the divorce process does take time. How long does it take to get a divorce in Tennessee?

There actually is no specific time frame for how long the divorce process takes. It is different for every couple. Contested divorces tend to take the longest to finalize -- anywhere from months to years. Uncontested divorces can take 60 to 90 days depending on whether a couple has children. The state does have a waiting period that a couple must satisfy before the petition to dissolve the marriage will be considered.

How does Tennessee determine child support?

Divorce is an emotional, gut-wrenching process. Many find it odd when they discover the determination of child support is an exercise in accounting.

While there is some room for negotiation for special circumstances, child support determination is so clinical that there are a number of on-line calculators that can help you determine how much you will likely pay.

Getting a divorce, how will our assets be divided?

The splitting up of property when ending a marriage can be difficult for spouses to figure out. Obviously, both parties want their fair share of the marital assets, but coming to agreeable terms can prove challenging as the topics of money and possessions do not always bring out the best in people. What does Tennessee law have to say about the division of assets in divorce?

Many people think that when they leave their marriages, they will automatically receive 50 percent of everything. That is not the case. Tennessee is an equitable distribution state. This means that each party's means and needs will be considered when dividing property property so that each walks away with a fair, though not necessarily equal, share of the marital assets. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements will also be taken into account, if such documents are legally valid and applicable to one's case.

When mental health affects parenting time

When a parent's mental health is not in the greatest place, there are always going to be questions about whether that individual has the ability to properly care for his or her children. This certainly is a concern that may arise during divorce proceedings. Whether one likes it or not, in Tennessee and elsewhere, parental mental health may affect parenting time.

When people hear the words mental illness, they picture people whose minds are so far gone that they cannot care for themselves or their loved ones. Mental illness is actually much bigger than that. For example, anxiety and depression, which are experienced by millions of Americans, are also mental illnesses. These issues do not always make it impossible for a person to live a relatively normal life. In short, not all mental illnesses are the same, and not all are completely debilitating.

How does stepparent adoption work?

In Tennessee and elsewhere, blended families seem to be the new norm. For a number of reasons, it may make sense for stepparents to adopt their stepchildren. In many cases, it really benefits the lives of the affected children. How does stepparent adoption work?

Traditional adoption cases can take years to complete. This is not necessarily true for stepparent adoptions. These cases generally take less time as certain requirements needed in traditional adoption cases do not need to be met. That does not mean that stepparent adoption cases are easy, though. They certainly have their challenges.

Tennessee divorce: Marital home options

Every year numerous couples in Tennessee choose to end their marriages. Those who own homes together are forced to decide what they are going to do with the property. When it comes to the marital home, there are a few options available to divorcing couples.

Option number one: keep it. More couples are choosing to keep their homes post-divorce. They may do this because they have children and keeping the home grants their children security. They may do this because each party lacks the resources to pay for their own places. Whatever their reason, it is a personal decision and works for some couples.

What rights do unmarried fathers have in Tennessee?

Fathers play an important role in a child’s life. However, establishing paternity can be a complicated process for unmarried fathers. In the event the unmarried parents are no longer together, establishing paternity is necessary for custody and visitation purposes. 

The state of Tennessee only grants paternity automatically when a child is born to a married couple. As an unmarried father, there are two ways you can establish paternity. The way you establish paternity often depends on if you and the child's mother agree that you are the biological father. 

Is your child custody arrangement not working out?

Most parents, whether they reside in Tennessee or elsewhere, want the absolute best for their children. Following divorce or separation from a significant other, child custody issues may arise. If your custody arrangement is not working out the way you had hoped or something happened making adjustments to your arrangement necessary, a family law attorney can help you seek a modification.

There are two ways to go about seeking a child custody modification. First, you and your ex can try to negotiate new terms. You can do this in private, in mediation or with the assistance of legal counsel.

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