Phone: 865-888-5707
Phone: 865-888-5707
  • Serving Knoxville Since 1994
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When can my child support be reduced?

In Tennessee, there are many different circumstances that might allow a modification to reduce the child support amount. If you have reduced income in a new job due to a RIF or lay off from your old job, that wasnt the result of you quitting or being fired from your last job, you may be entitled to a child support reduction if you meet the fifteen percent (15%) variance rule. The fifteen percent  (15%) variance rule requires that in order for the court to modify, the new child support amounts (as figured under the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines) must be at least fifteen percent (15%) less then the current child support amounts.

Estate planning when getting divorced

If you are like most people who get divorced in Tennessee, you will experience a wide variety of emotions as you work through the many decisions and changes to come. Sometimes, there are so many things to focus on that you only have the energy for the ones that seem the most urgent or important to your future. However, it is important to think about what really is in that important category.

According to Forbes, giving some attention to your estate plan during your divorce is one of the important things that should be on your list. If you and your spouse had made wills or a trust, certainly you will want to revise those. One big reason for this is that your assets are likely to change after your property division agreement is finalized. Also, if you named your spouse as the executor or beneficiary, you may likely wish to revise that as well.

Why is your spouse hiding assets?

Tennessee parents like you have a lot of financial decisions - and sacrifices - to make when you are finalizing the terms of your divorce. Child support payments are one major area of contention, and you may find yourself with quite a conundrum if you are suspicious that assets are being hidden from you.

FindLaw states that it is actually not entirely uncommon for one spouse to try making it seem like their assets are lower than they really are. There are a few reasons why people engage in this kind of deception. However, in the case of child support matters, it is likely done so that the spouse won't have to pay as much.

How can I deal with stress related to my divorce?

Making decisions during a divorce is rarely easy. Even if you and your ex are in agreement on most issues, chances are you’ll experience a great deal of stress as a result of the dissolution of your marriage. Coping with stress in a healthy and meaningful way is crucial, as illustrated by Live About.

Don’t focus on what you can’t control

Does an agreed divorce fit your circumstance?

When you and your spouse agree that the marriage is not working, is there a way to fast-track the divorce process? 

Under current Tennessee law, a couple who agrees to divorce amicably may qualify for an agreed divorce. However, there exist some requirements that both spouses must fit in order for the process to continue in this fashion.

What makes a parent unfit?

Stepparent and relative adoptions in Tennessee are fairly common, but that does not mean that they are easy to obtain. Often, and understandably, the reluctance or refusal of either or both birth parents to voluntarily terminate their parental rights presents a complication to the adoption process. The Court can intervene with an involuntary termination of parental rights, but only upon determining that the parent is unfit to care for or make decisions for the child. 

While it may seem that the standards by which the court may deem a parent unfit should be universal, however, the definition of parental unfitness varies at least somewhat from state to state. In all states, however, family law courts use the best interest of the child as the guiding principle in determining whether a parent is unfit. In other words, if the court determines that remaining in the parent's care and allowing the parent to make decisions for the child would not be in his or her best interest, the court would likely determine the parent to be unfit and would have a responsibility to protect the child.

In Tennessee, the usual ground alleged to terminate the birth parent's rights in an stepparent or relative adoption proceeding is abandonment. The Plaintiff (Adopting Party) must show that the birth parent has abandoned the child, which in Tennessee, is four consecutive months without either visiting with or paying support for the children. Once the grounds have been established the Court must make a further finding that the termination and adoption is in the children's best interest.    

A parenting agreement provides an ounce of prevention

The laws of Tennessee clearly outline the rights and responsibilities of married couples who choose to divorce, both to one another and to their children. However, we at Parker and LaDuke have observed that the laws have not always kept up with the current trend of couples choosing to start families without the formality of first getting married. Consumer Affairs confirms that, while there are fewer laws and statutes on the books pertaining to the rights and responsibilities of an unmarried couple that chooses to split up, parents' responsibilities to their children are largely the same regardless of whether or not the couple was ever married. Couples, attorneys and courts alike are learning how to cope with these issues as they arise.

You and your partner may intend to stay together forever, but keep in mind that no one gets involved in a romantic relationship with the intention of breaking up. It may be a good idea for you and your partner to draw up a parenting agreement now in the hopes that you never need it but in the interest of making matters easier on both you and your children in the event that you do someday split up. 

Pay attention to divorce document dates

Going through a divorce in Tennessee can be a very confusing experience under any circumstances. Divorce matters can become even more confusing for our clients at Parker and LaDuke as the laws continue to change. During this transitional time, you probably want to pay close attention to the timeframe in which you have filed your documents. A new law is going to effect as of Jan. 1st, 2019 that could cost some people a lot more money in their divorce settlements because the rules about how alimony or spousal maintenance relates to your taxes are changing due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

According to BNY Mellon Wealth Management, the particular document you need to pay attention to is your written separation agreement. As long as this document is in writing and executed on or before Dec. 31st, 2018, the law will grandfather you in and the old rules governing alimony and taxes will apply, even if the divorce finalization does not occur until after the first of the year.

Eligibility for the relative caregiver program

Most people in Tennessee would like to think that when a child is born into a family, that child will enjoy all of the love and support they need from their parents throughout their life. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Many situations may leave a child in need of care outside of their family home and this care may include that provided by another relative. In these cases, people may be able to apply to participate in a program run by the Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

The program is called the Relative Caregiver Program and it allows those persons who take responsibility for a minor relative to get some assistance while they raise the child. Before applying to be part of the Relative Caregiver Program, a person must be willing to accept program help such as respite care and participation in support groups. The person must also either be the child's legal guardian or custodian or have been granted authority to raise the child by some agreement made within the family.

Understanding benefits eligibility after a military divorce

As a Tennessee resident navigating your way through a divorce from a servicemember, you may be trying to figure out where you will live and how you plan to support yourself once the divorce becomes final. You may, too, be wondering whether you will still be able to take advantage of certain military benefits, such as TRICARE insurance and use of military commissaries, once you and your one-time partner split.

Unfortunately, unless you and your situation meet very clear, distinct circumstances, you will probably not still have access to military benefits after divorce. You may, however, be able to pursue alternative solutions to meet your needs if you do not meet the criteria outlined by the 20/20/20 military divorce rule.

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Knoxville, TN 37922

Phone: 865-888-5707
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