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Williamson County Divorce Law Blog

Domestic violence makes divorce worse

Divorce is most often a challenging event in a person's life. In fact, it often affects more than just the two people getting divorced. Divorce causes many negative emotions, such as anger, frustration and sadness. If domestic violence is involved, it can have a devastating effect on any couple in the United States, including those in Tennessee.

A recent report by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers stated that 32 percent of lawyers have noticed an increase in domestic violence issues, while only six percent have noticed a decrease in domestic violence. Also, 36 percent of attorneys have noted an increase in restraining orders in divorce cases. A large chunk of the attorneys -- 63 percent -- believe that courts need to do more to address domestic violence issues.

Termination of alimony awards in Tennessee

Divorce is not merely about broken hearts and moving on in life but also legal matters such as alimony and child support payments. Alimony, or spousal support, is the payment that one spouse makes to another after divorce to help maintain a spouse's previous lifestyle and to help the spouse to prepare to possibly re-enter the workforce.

In Tennessee, as in other states in the country, alimony payments stop under certain circumstances. So, what are the circumstances that merit the termination of alimony awards?

Code Commission helps implement UCCJEA child-custody provisions

In divorces involving minor children, it is the children who are often the most affected. Many become worried about the future and which parent they will live with. They may feel torn between both parents, especially if they are being asked to choose sides. This is when a neutral third party is most needed. For this reason, courts will act in the best interests of children and award child custody to one parent and require the other to pay regular child support. However, as some Tennessee parents who have been awarded custody know, collection can turn out to be a problem if the other parent takes the children to another state, especially one with different child-custody laws.

This was one of the problems that the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act addressed in the late 1990s. Since then, every state but one has passed this model legislation, which seeks to resolve interstate jurisdictional conflicts over child-custody laws. The UCCJEA encourages cooperation between courts in different states so that children's best interests are considered primarily by the originating or home state.

Domestic violence and its effects on child custody in Tennessee

Domestic violence is a criminal offense that often involves both spouses and children. In domestic violence abuse cases, the greatest concerns are the mental and physical health of the victim of abuse. In Tennessee, like elsewhere in the country, domestic violence cases typically do not get reported as the victims are afraid of a backlash. Sometimes a domestic violence case is also fabricated by a spouse to avoid giving child custody to the other parent.

Whatever the case, it is often wise to consult with an experienced attorney to gather evidence and interview witnesses in an effort to come up with a fool-proof case. If a charge of domestic violence case has been brought against an individual, the person's reputation is inevitably tarnished. That individual may also lose the person's parental rights.

Controlling emotions after a divorce helps avoid a financial mess

Divorce is admittedly a very difficult time for all involved. Tennessee spouses typically feel a range of emotions, such as anger, depression, hurt, desperation, pain and relief when it's over. However, it is important to keep these emotions under control to keep financial decisions rational and to the point. People who typically emerge unscathed by divorce are those who do not make decisions regarding money matters in a rush. They judiciously consider all property division matters.

The first way to avoid emotional spending is to stay away from vanity purchases. While divorce is a difficult time, the urge to splurge and pamper oneself to feel good after a divorce only leads to a pile of debt, which always feels bad. So an important point is to consider if you really need what you're buying.

Handling property matters in high asset divorce cases

In a divorce, one spouse may be better prepared to handle the situation than the other. And if that individual is the one who is the richer of the two, that person may try to shield assets and bring down the person's estimated value of the family fortune. This is done to avoid equitable property division. This is true everywhere in the U.S., including Tennessee.

Just as divorce is impending, this spouse will typically stash away assets and cash. The other spouse may feel the need for a treasure map to locate these buried assets. Sometimes professionals and experts are brought in to catalogue and locate family wealth and to put a value on assets. These professionals will hunt out anomalies, such as unlikely cases of title transfers and seemingly extraordinary transactions between entities.

Discrepancy in alimony reported and tax deduction

Tennessee residents would agree that divorce is not just about two people moving apart but has financial implications as well, including payments of child support, spousal support and property division among others.

Spousal support or alimony is the payment that one spouse makes to another. The spouse who is paying alimony can claim tax deductions. In 2010, 567,887 individuals claimed tax deductions from alimony, with the amount exceeding $10 billion dollars. On the other hand, individuals who receive alimony must show it in tax return as income received. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, has begun audits to find and rectify any inconsistencies between incomes, and tax returns reported and alimony deductions claimed.

Experienced lawyer can help couples agree on child custody plans

As in some other states, before a divorce in Tennessee can be finalized, spouses are required to come up with a parenting plan. The plan should specify which parent will take custody of any minor children the couple have as well as a visitation plan for the noncustodial parent so that he or she can maintain regular contact with the children. If a couple is unable to come up with effective parenting and visitation plans, a court will make and implement a child custody plan that it determines to be in the best interests of the children.

Unfortunately, when a court makes this decision, the results are not always well received by at least one parent, and arguments over what constitutes a fair custody arrangement often follow. These disputes can be traumatizing to children, especially when kids are asked by their parents to choose sides. To avoid these disputes and their long-term effects, the parents would be better off consulting an experienced attorney who can help them work out an effective child custody plan. Experienced attorneys work to meet their client's goals and ensure that the children's best interests are met.

Western Tennessee event spotlights domestic violence

In recent years, the issue of violence against wives and domestic partners has become a major cause of concern for authorities all across the country, including Tennessee. Women in particular have been subjected to various degrees of abuse and violence - psychological, physical and sexual - from intimate partners and spouses they are supposed to love and trust. Awareness to end this violence has slowly been increasing on the part of women who have been victimized, say advocates and federal, state and local law enforcement authorities.

Recently in western Tennessee, a flash mob sought to highlight the problem for the general public. Volunteers in several counties took to local streets to dance and sing along to the popular song "Break the Chain." Sponsored by the Wo/Men's Resource and Rape Assistance Program, the program saw an excellent turnout with people from many backgrounds participating in the drive to end domestic violence.

When Tennessee parents want to relocate with their children

Child custodial issues may sometimes seem to be one of the most contentious and tenuous legal proceedings in the state of Tennessee. Issues relating to child custody may be exacerbated in cases where one of the biological parents, especially the one with visitation rights, decides to relocate to a different state.

Tennessee law dictates that any biological parent who plans on relocating from the state or even 100 miles from the other biological parent needs to send a notice to the other parent informing of the relocation plans. The notice must be sent by certified or registered mail with advanced notice of no less than 60 days from the intended relocation.

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