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Williamson County Divorce Law Blog

How high-asset divorces can affect the elderly

A high-asset divorce can be complicated for Tennessee residents who have accumulated a lot of wealth over the course of their marriage. One of the most vulnerable groups of people to high-asset divorce is the elderly, who have already retired and have been married to their spouses for a long time. Those divorces are often referred to as silver divorces.

With such a vast amount of wealth at stake, many people in a high-asset divorce find it beneficial to consult an experienced attorney who can help the person to protect the assets, and, at the same time, help to get an amicable settlement in the divorce.

Father charged with kidnapping his daughter

Gaining child custody over one's minor children can be an emotionally grueling task. In many cases, the non-custodial parent is often resentful of the custodial parent. Non-custodial parents who violate a child custody order can be liable for not only civil lawsuits but also for criminal charges under Tennessee law.

In case the non-custodial parent goes against the child custody order or refuses to give back the child to the custodial parent, it is considered kidnapping under the law. The custodial parent has the legal right to consult attorneys, as well as state agencies in order to initiate a case, as well as to search for their children in case the non-custodial parent has taken the child across state borders or even international borders without authorization.

Lowering the cost of a Tennessee high-asset divorce

In some divorce cases, the biggest issues tend not to be emotional or related to breakdown of the longstanding relationship between spouses, but rather are the financial issues relating to the divorce. Tennessee residents who have amassed a vast amount of wealth prior to the marriage or even during the course of the marital union tend to have complicated financial issues associated with their divorces. In such cases, most attorneys strongly advise these high-asset clients to protect their wealth by obtaining a prenuptial agreement to shield these assets from an unfair divorce settlement.

One major factor in obtaining a fair and equitable divorce settlement, especially in a case of a high asset divorce is to wrap up legal action as soon as possible. A prolonged divorce settlement can lead to seemingly endless back-and-forth volleys between estranged spouses that only succeed in adding to legal time and costs.

Legal recourses in the event of parental abduction

Child custody can often be a controversial issue in a divorce or separation legal proceeding between Tennessee parents. The courts usually award child custody to one parent on the basis of the best interests of the child. Thus, violating such child custody orders can attract several serious penalties under the law.

In extreme cases, the non-custodial parent may wrongfully and illegally detain the minor child against court orders. The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act specifically prohibits such kind of illegal detention of the minor child by non-custodial parents.

Hiding assets can get divorcing spouses in trouble

Divorce laws in Tennessee allow equitable division of marital property. Spouses with a high net worth and valuable assets may wish not to disclose part of their assets, in order to protect them from being divided in the divorce. However, if that happens, the other spouse will not receive a fair amount of the marital property, which is illegal. According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, more than 30 percent of high net worth individuals in the United States have been deceptive toward their partners when it came to representing the marital assets accurately.

Spouses who have been deceptive about their assets may have hidden cash from one another or may not have informed the other spouse about a purchase that the spouse has made. Hiding a bill or providing false information about finances, income and debt are also not uncommon. However, as stated previously, such acts are illegal and may have serious consequences.

Immediate physical child custody may be awarded to a petitioner

In Tennessee, family courts have temporary emergency jurisdiction in child custody cases when a child has been abandoned or a parent or a sibling of the child has been threatened or abused. If the court doesn't issue a temporary emergency order, it may try to ease the situation by finding a petitioner who can take immediate physical custody of a child to remove the child from the harmful situation.

This scenario is only possible when a child custody order has not been registered and confirmed. It is also valid in circumstances where the court which issued the custody order had no jurisdiction in Tennessee or the child custody order had been stayed or modified by a court that has jurisdiction. In cases where the respondent was supposed to receive notice regarding the proceedings of court about matters related to a child custody determination, but the notice was not delivered as required, the court may order a petitioner to take immediate physical custody of the child in the interim.

Report on domestic violence reveals alarming statistics

Domestic violence is one of the most disturbing problems across United States, and the recent report published by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation corroborates this fact. The statistics and data released by TBI show that over 70 percent of the domestic violence victims were women, which is no doubt quite alarming. It also suggests that women were three times more vulnerable than men as subjects of domestic violence.

According to this report, almost 70 percent of the domestic violence cases were that of simple assault, and many of the victims were abused by their spouses rather than being abused by a former spouse. Almost 270 people have died over a period of three years as a result of domestic violence. This report also suggests that close to 60 percent of the victims were juveniles and were likely abused by their parents or step-parents.

Understanding the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act

Divorced spouses in Tennessee may be aware of the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, which prohibits abduction or forced custody of a child by the non-custodial parent. Parental kidnapping generally refers to the non-custodial parent detaining a child within a state or removing the child from the resident state, after visitation rights have ended or have been cancelled by the court.

The Act does not allow other states to modify a custody order issued by a court in any state, unless the original state declines to exercise jurisdiction over the order. According to this Act, if the jurisdiction of a child custody case lies within one state, no move can be made regarding jurisdiction by any court in any other state. The PKPA gives priority to the home state in cases involving child custody orders and visitation rights, during the initial custody hearing. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act in some instances, allows two states to have jurisdiction over one case.

Representing domestic violence victims in Tennessee

Many residents of Tennessee may have faced or witnessed domestic violence. Domestic abuse generally refers to certain violent behavior that one partner exhibits in order to maintain control over the other. Domestic violence can also refer to emotional and sexual tortures that one may be subject to. At times, the victim is also exploited financially by the perpetrator or is prevented from venturing outside the house. Physical abuse to someone's property or children can also be considered domestic violence.

Victims of domestic violence may request an order of protection. A protective order prevents the perpetrator from residing in the same house as the victim. In case the victim leaves the house, the same order forces the perpetrator to pay the rent for the house where the victim has now moved to. This order can also grant temporary custody of the children to the victim and make the other person pay for the necessary child support. However, this order doesn't cover the protection of the children.

Can unmarried fathers in Tennessee obtain child custody?

A common point of discussion and debate is the rights of unmarried fathers to obtain child custody and visitation. Every state, including Tennessee, has its own definition of "father" and "parent" and these definitions play a significant role in the court's decision regarding child custody and visitation. Thankfully, fathers' rights have evolved and current Tennessee law allows an unmarried father to claim custody of his child.

The first step an unmarried father must take to obtain child custody is to establish paternity. This can either be done by a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity at the time of the child's birth or at a later date. However, if paternity is disputed either by the father or mother, the child's paternity is determined by a court-order DNA test. After paternity establishment, the father can file a petition to request child custody and visitation rights.

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Judy A. Oxford, Attorney at Law
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Franklin, TN 37064
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