The Nashville law firm of Widrig Law, PLLC is dedicated to assisting the citizens of Tennessee as they navigate one of the most difficult times, if not the most difficult time, of their lives. We have been assisting clients with their family law needs since 2007. Our office is based in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, and we are proud to serve clients throughout Middle Tennessee, including in Murfreesboro and Franklin. We completely understand the personal and emotional nature of family law issues.
We have extensive experience handling difficult child custody cases, relocation cases, and complex contested divorce cases. We have handled termination of parental rights and adoption cases. We have represented military members or spouses during a military divorce. We have represented hundreds of clients a year and thousands of clients thus far, so please call us so that we can help you too.
Family law matters often arise in connection with a divorce. Issues that may need to be considered in a divorce include child custody, child support, property distribution, and alimony. These issues also may come up later, after the divorce has been finalized, if the circumstances for one or both spouses change. Property distribution and alimony can be governed by prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. A potential adoption also presents family law concerns. Your family is important to you, making it important to seek out an experienced divorce attorney in the Nashville area.
You can file for a fault or no-fault divorce in Tennessee. No-fault divorces may be obtained under circumstances such as separation without cohabitating for a period of two years without children involved or irreconcilable differences. However, there are also fault divorces, which include circumstances such as willful desertion, adultery, bigamy, cruelty, abandonment, and a felony conviction. Either your spouse or you must live in Tennessee for a minimum of six months to file for a divorce in the state. You can file either in the county where you live or in the county where your spouse lives.
Under Tennessee Code section 36-6-106, a court can award custody to either of the parents or both of the parents. The court will examine what a child’s best interests are in order to make a child custody determination. Custody may be either joint or sole, and either parent, regardless of gender, can be awarded sole custody. Custody also can be legal or physical. When legal custody is awarded to a parent, the parent will be able to make decisions about the child’s education, religion, and medical treatment and care. Physical custody relates to which parent lives with the child. Our Nashville divorce attorneys can help you pursue a child custody and visitation arrangement that preserves your bonds with your child.
Child support is based on a parent’s legal obligation to support their child. In Tennessee, both parents are equally responsible to pay for their minor child’s support, education, welfare, nurture, and care. The state child support guidelines are intended to account for different circumstances. The duty to pay child support extends either until a child’s 18th birthday or until the child’s high school class graduates if they are 19. If a Tennessee parent does not pay child support, the Child Support Services Enforcement can pursue the parent in arrears by putting a lien on their property, seizing their bank account, or denying a passport.
When considering whether to permit an adoption to go forward, the court is focused on the adopted child’s well-being. In Tennessee, prospective parents need to be at least age 18, live in Tennessee for a minimum of six months, and meet the child’s financial and emotional needs. The state permits people to adopt irrespective of their marital status, meaning that you can adopt even if you are single. If the child being adopted is at least 14, he or she needs to consent to the adoption. You must wait until four days after a child’s birth to initiate the formal adoption proceedings, although you can consult an attorney before then. The birth mother will remain the legal parent until the point of surrender, and even after the surrender, the birth mother has 10 days to recall her decision.
Alimony, also known as spousal support, can be paid before or after a divorce in Tennessee. Generally, Tennessee law mandates the payment of alimony if one spouse is able to pay, and the other spouse needs support. A Nashville divorce lawyer can help you pursue alimony if you need it or defend against an improper request for alimony. When a spouse does not need support, or the other spouse is not able to pay, alimony should not be awarded. There are different kinds of alimony. These are rehabilitative alimony, periodic alimony, transitional alimony, and lump sum alimony, and each has different purposes. For example, rehabilitative alimony is there to help someone who has been out of a job and does not have the capacity to earn income or develop the capacity to earn sufficient money to have a standard of living similar to what the spouses shared during the marriage, or at least similar to the other spouse’s standard of living after the marriage.
Prenuptial agreements are agreements created before a marriage. In most cases, prenuptial agreements have provisions identifying the property, each spouse’s rights and responsibilities related to the property during the marriage, property distribution in case of a divorce, and estate planning protections for any children from prior relationships. After the marriage, the spouses may enter into a written agreement called a postnuptial agreement. A postnuptial agreement can be important because it may allow a couple to bypass the requirements of divorce and alimony laws and create their own arrangement. In Tennessee, the law imposes certain requirements on prenuptial agreements to find them enforceable, and there are certain areas that they cannot cover. A divorce lawyer in the Nashville area can help you make sure that your agreement is enforceable.
If you are going through a divorce or facing another family law dispute in Tennessee, you should consult an experienced attorney. At Widrig Law, we represent people in Nashville, Murfreesboro, Franklin, Mt. Juliet, Smyrna, Lebanon, Fairview, Bellevue, Gallatin, Springfield, Clarksville, and throughout Middle Tennessee. Call us at (615) 417-7800 or use our online form to set up a consultation.
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