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Family Law FAQ

Sometimes it is unavoidable that the American legal system and your personal life will collide. Marriage, divorce and other domestic matters draw a very fine line between social bonds and legal contracts, and at times, they must be dealt with as both. When this happens to families, emotions tend to run high and legal complexities often arise. To give you a better understanding of family law and to ensure that you are well-informed, we have provided some common questions to get you started.

If you have any more questions regarding your family law matter, it is highly advised that you speak with an attorney from our firm in order to find answers that intimately relate to your personal situation. Having the legal assistance we can provide will help ensure that you will take the legal actions your case requires. There is no one size fits all when it comes to divorce and other family law issues, and Grimes, Sensing & Clemons PLLC are prepared to offer legal aid according to your needs. Contact the firm today.

  • What is family law?
    Family law is a well-defined area of law that deals with family related legal issues. This can include matters involving domestic relationships and marriage, such as adoption, divorce, child custody, parental responsibility and domestic violence, among others. Family law cases are handled in Family Court.
  • Why do I need a family law attorney?

    The Federal legal system and the state of Tennessee do not require you to have legal representation when filing for a divorce or when dealing with other issues of family. Given the complexities of the laws involved, however, having qualified legal assistance can help ensure your case runs smoothly. Family law cases also have a great deal of other factors and elements that can make a successful outcome highly desirable or necessary. Gaining child custody and visitation rights are personal victories that can be life-altering and nearly impossible to put a price on.

    It is also important to note that family law cases are rarely uncontested. This means your spouse or partner will have the ability to debate your actions and character in a court of law. If they have legal representation themselves, it becomes vital to the favorable resolution of your case to retain an attorney of your own.

  • How long does it take to get a divorce?
    The length for divorce proceedings vary considerably from case to case. In Tennessee, the minimum statutory waiting period for unmarried couples without unmarried minor children filing a divorce based on irreconcilable differences is 60 days, and 90 days if the couple has children. When at-fault grounds are plead, there are no minimum waiting periods. When divorces are contested, proceedings can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, depending on the situation.
  • What are the grounds for divorce in Tennessee?

    A no-fault divorce, meaning the dissolution of marriage without placing blame, can filed on the grounds of irreconcilable differences or if the couple has lived separately for at least two years with no children. At-fault divorces establish fault on one of the spouses and can be a considerable factor in determining alimony and parental responsibilities. Tennessee Code § 36-4-101 allows for several at-fault grounds. Some of the more common at-fault grounds for divorce include:

    • Adultery
    • Imprisonment or felony convictions
    • Drug or alcohol abuse
    • Domestic violence or abuse
    • Impotence
  • How is property distribution determined?

    Tennessee employs a legal process known as equitable distribution. This means that is couples cannot agree on a settlement, the court will evaluate both joint and individual assets and distribute them as they see fit. There are a variety of factors considered when determining how property will be split between two parties and under Tennessee Code § 36-4-121 the court divides assets based on:

    • Length of marriage
    • Age, physical and mental health, job skills and financial needs
    • Contribution by one party to the earning power of the other
    • Ability of each party for future income
    • Contributions of each party to marital or separate property
    • Value of each party's separate property
    • Estate of each party
    • Economic circumstances of each party
    • Tax consequences of settlement
    • Social security benefits
    • Any other factors necessary

    As these factors vary from case to case, it is highly advised that you have legal assistance when preparing a legal strategy tailored to your situation. Equitable distribution does not mean property will be divided equally, and hiring an experienced family law attorney from our firm can help lower your risk of unfair distribution.

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