Family Law FAQs

Tennessee family law can be complicated to understand, and you’re likely going through many emotions that can make it even more difficult. 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 when you got married, you may wonder how long you have to live there before you can get a divorce. In Tennessee, you have to live in the state for six months before filing 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 where 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 for them to sign upon receiving or by having someone else, who is not related to you, deliver the petition.

How is property divided in divorce proceedings?

In a Tennessee divorce, a couple’s property is divided using equitable division of assets. This means that separate property and marital property are 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 child 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 a parent has regarding 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 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 receive under your separation agreement.

A Nashville Family Law Firm That Can Answer Your Questions

While this covers some of the basic questions you may have regarding family law, you still might have more questions and concerns you need help with. At Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC, we have years of experience helping people through divorces, determining child custody, and other family law concerns and are here to provide the help you need.

If you have any more questions about family law, our Nashville family law attorneys have the answers. Contact us today if you have a family law matter that requires our assistance.

We Can Help

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