Good people can find themselves in bad situations. In any relationship it takes two people who are committed and focused in sustaining a healthy relationship. If this formula breaks down, the first option should NOT be divorce. There are many services, some secular and some faith-based that can help restore your marriage and avoid divorce. If these are not an option, seek legal help from a competent attorney. Divorce can be daunting and many decisions will need to be made affecting your long-term well being. Matters such as custody and support provisions can have lasting effects.
As an attorney, divorce cases present opportunities to help and care for our clients. Whether you're in Knoxville, Maryville or another surrounding county you should have a lawyer that really takes your case to heart.
All divorces divide up the marital estates of the parties. In Tennessee, our courts will divide the marital estate per statute that requires the court to make a fair and equitable division of all property acquired during the term of the marriage. This includes the marital home and other real estate, vehicles, 401-K plans, IRAs and other financial assets as well as household property. The division is not always equal and courts will consider the following factors:
(1) The duration of the marriage;
(2) The age, physical and mental health, vocational skills, employability, earning capacity, estate, financial liabilities and financial needs of each of the parties;
(3) The tangible or intangible contribution by one (1) party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party;
(4) The relative ability of each party for future acquisitions of capital assets and income;
(5) (A) The contribution of each party to the acquisition, preservation, appreciation, depreciation or dissipation of the marital or separate property, including the contribution of a party to the marriage as homemaker, wage earner or parent, with the contribution of a party as homemaker or wage earner to be given the same weight if each party has fulfilled its role;
(B) For purposes of this subdivision (c)(5), dissipation of assets means wasteful expenditures which reduce the marital property available for equitable distributions and which are made for a purpose contrary to the marriage either before or after a complaint for divorce or legal separation has been filed.
(6) The value of the separate property of each party;
(7) The estate of each party at the time of the marriage;
(8) The economic circumstances of each party at the time the division of property is to become effective;
(9) The tax consequences to each party, costs associated with the reasonably foreseeable sale of the asset, and other reasonably foreseeable expenses associated with the asset;
(10) In determining the value of an interest in a closely held business or similar asset, all relevant evidence, including valuation methods typically used with regard to such assets without regard to whether the sale of the asset is reasonably foreseeable. Depending on the characteristics of the asset, such considerations could include, but would not be limited to, a lack of marketability discount, a discount for lack of control, and a control premium, if any should be relevant and supported by the evidence;
(11) The amount of social security benefits available to each spouse; and
(12) Such other factors as are necessary to consider the equities between the parties.
Marital property is a broad term but includes growth in the equity of a home, even if the home itself is separate property. It also includes recovery in personal injury, workers' compensation, social security disability actions, and other similar actions for the following: wages lost during the marriage, reimbursement for medical bills incurred and paid with marital property, and property damage to marital property.
Child Custody, Child Support and Spousal Support are additional issues in many cases and often require the advice of an expert.
Other areas of Family Law include Adoptions, Post-Divorce Parenting Plan Modifications and Support Modifications.