During a divorce, you need to protect your rights, but you also likely are experiencing difficult emotions, including sadness, anger, and frustration. Your mental and emotional state during divorce proceedings may make it harder to know what decisions to make in your case. A Chattanooga divorce lawyer understands how you are feeling and could help you weigh your options and make the decisions that are most desirable for you and your family.
During divorce proceedings, you and your spouse must go through the painful process of separating your homes, your children, and your lives. Even when you know that a divorce is a necessary step, trying to navigate through the court process could be challenging and confusing. A family lawyer may be able to guide you throughout every step of the divorce process and help you achieve your intentions for your divorce.
A divorce could be based on “irreconcilable differences,” which is a “no-fault” divorce. In this situation, the spouses agree that their marriage is irretrievably broken and they should proceed toward getting a divorce.
In some cases, however, parties may not agree that they should get divorced. For instance, one party may want to proceed with the divorce, but the other spouse may not want to divorce. When this scenario occurs, the spouse who wishes to divorce must pursue a divorce based on “grounds,” or one of various statutory reasons for the divorce.
State law provides several grounds for divorce, ranging from one spouse being convicted of a felony and sent to prison to the adultery of one spouse. The most common ground for fault-based divorce is inappropriate marital conduct, which is any action that one spouse takes and that the other spouse considers inappropriate.
The first step an individual should take if they want to initiate a divorce in Chattanooga is to meet with an attorney. The next practical thing that must happen is actually filing a complaint for divorce. In the context of an uncontested case, that complaint is filed along with agreed-upon paperwork that each party has signed, and the couple would then start the waiting period before being granted the full divorce. Once the waiting period has expired, they can schedule the final hearing. Conversely, a contested case could be initiated by filing the complaint and having the other spouse served, eventually leading to conflict in court.
Any property purchased or acquired by either spouse during a marriage is marital property that a court is able to divide in a divorce. Marital property includes both real estate and personal property. Property that either spouse obtained before marriage, such as an inheritance or a home that one of them already owned, would remain the separate property of that spouse.
Likewise, any debt that either spouse incurs during the marriage also is subject to division in a divorce. If one spouse had significant debt before coming into the marriage, however, that spouse remains responsible for that debt.
Alimony is an amount of support that one spouse pays to another based on a disparity in economic needs between the parties. Spouses with less income who could meet their needs typically are not entitled to alimony. On the other hand, alimony may be inappropriate if the other spouse does not earn enough to pay alimony.
Under state law, alimony is either temporary or permanent. Some alimony orders are modifiable, but others are not. Finally, some alimony awards terminate when a spouse dies or remarries, whereas some do not. As alimony is a complex issue, consulting a divorce lawyer in Chattanooga for advice may be wise.
State law refers to parents as “Primary Residential Parent” (PRP) and “Alternate Residential Parent” (ARP) in child custody proceedings. The court designates a PRP and the parenting time or visitation schedule with the ARP according to what is in the best interest of the children. Ultimately, the court issues a Permanent Parenting Plan that addresses all issues related to the minor children of the parties.
The Tennessee Child Support Guidelines prescribe how much one parent should pay to the other for child support after a divorce. The amount of support depends on the number of days the child is with each parent, the gross income of each parent, the cost of work-related daycare, and the cost of health insurance. A divorce attorney in Chattanooga could be instrumental in properly calculating child support for divorcing parents.
The biggest differences between contested divorces and uncontested divorces would be the amount of time and money involved. An uncontested divorce tends to be significantly quicker than a drawn-out divorce battle. Additionally, the emotional toll that the uncertainty of a contested divorce can take on a person is difficult for anybody to endure.
An uncontested divorce could be simple, cost-effective, and done in 60 or 90 days. However, contested divorces in which the spouses cannot agree on one or more issues is much more complicated. In these situations, a Chattanooga divorce lawyer may be able to address your concerns and guide you through this challenging process.
Going through a divorce is likely to be one of the most stressful times of your life. During this period, you may benefit significantly from the advice of legal counsel, who is able to answer your decisions and help make the decisions that are right for you and your family.