Family Law FAQ

When it comes to Tennessee family law, you may have questions regarding divorce, child custody and how your assets will be divided. There’s a lot that can go into it. This is why our team at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC has compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding Tennessee family law.

How long do I have to live in Tennessee before we can divorce?

If you have just moved to a state where you got married, you may wonder how long do you have to live there before you can get a divorce. In Tennessee, you have to live in the state for six months before you can file for a divorce.

What is an alternative dispute resolution?

Alternative dispute resolution is used to avoid litigation when possible in a contested divorce. It can save financial resources, as well as time and stress for both parties.

This process involves mediation in a private, informal setting in which an impartial mediator helps facilitate an agreement between the individuals regarding important issues such as the division of property, child support or custody, and spousal support.

How do I serve divorce papers?

After filing for divorce, you need to serve your ex their papers. Under Tennessee law, you are required to serve a copy of the divorce petition to your spouse either by certified mail which they will then have to sign upon receiving or by having someone else deliver the petition.

How is property divided in divorce proceedings?

In Tennessee divorces, the property is divided using equitable division of assets. This means that separate property and marital property will be judged by a court if the couple cannot come to a consensus. The court will use factors such as:

  • Age of each spouse
  • The duration of the marriage
  • Mental and physical health of both individuals
  • Contributions by both parties
  • Earning capacity, vocational skills, and employability of each person
  • The value of any separate property
  • The current economic status of both spouses

What is a parenting plan?

In Tennessee, a standard Parenting Plan highlights how a child or the children of divorced parents will be raised. It highlights the importance of both parent-child relationships to avoid parental alienation by either party.

What is the difference between physical and legal custody?

There are two types of custody agreements in Tennessee — physical and legal.

  • Physical custody refers to the amount of time a parent is permitted to be with the child.
  • Legal custody refers to the decision-making rights the parent has in regard to the child’s welfare, such as health and education.

What’s the difference between legal separation and divorce?

The major difference between legal separation and divorce in Tennessee is that you cannot remarry if you are legally separated. The grounds for separation are typically the same as those of divorce, including support payments, child custody and the distribution of marital assets. However, the marriage is not dissolved.

Can I date while legally separated?

In short, no, you should not date while legally separated in Tennessee as it can potentially be used against you in court if you do go through with a divorce. This can alter custody, child support, and alimony which you may already be receiving under your separation agreement.

If you have any more questions about family law in Nashville, our family law attorneys have the answers! Contact Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC today.

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If you need legal assistance regarding family law faq matters, contact us online or call us at (615) 800-7096 today for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.