615-890-3656

Blog & News

Our goal is to keep you educated about news related to family law in Tennessee. Check back here often for updates and blog posts from our attorneys.

Where Will My Child Go To School?

Where Will My Child Go To School?

It’s back to school time in Middle Tennessee. If you’re recently separated, you may be wondering – where will my child go to school? In the state of Tennessee, school aged children are required to go to school or be enrolled in a home school affiliation. Typically a child’s residential district dictates where the child goes to school, but in situations of joint custody, this can be confusing.

In Tennessee, if one parent has the child most of the time (ie: more than 182.5 nights a year), the child will likely attend school in the district of that parent. However, in cases where parents enjoy a 50/50 custody schedule, it can be difficult to decide where the child should go to school. Some factors parents should consider are:

  • Who lives in the better school district
  • How far are the schools from each parent’s residence
  • Which parent has the freedom to travel further in the mornings
  • Extracurricular programs each school offers
  • History of child in school district
  • Does the child have established relationships in either school district

If you are unable to make this decision together for your child, you may need to go to mediation to come to a decision. If you are unable to decide jointly through mediation, the court will make the decision. You will want help from an experienced child custody lawyer when dealing with mediation and the legal system in Middle Tennessee. The experience our attorneys can provide you during a dispute over school districts can be extremely helpful with your case.

So how does the court decide which parent gets to make this decision? When the court assigns a primary residential parent in a joint custody case, they’re not deciding where the child will go to school, but rather, which parent will have the legal custody over this decision. Here are some factors the court may take into consideration when making this decision:

  • A well-involved and knowledgeable parent
  • If one parent can show they involved the other parent in the process to investigate school options
  • The logistics for any and all transportation challenges both parents might face
  • History of parental involvement in the school district with child
  • Each parents ability to articulate their reasons why their chosen school would be in the best interest of the child.

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re struggling to come to a decision about where your child should go to school, reach out to Murfreesboro Family Law for a consultation. Our experienced family law and child custody attorneys are here to help you navigate this stressful situation and help your family get the best outcome.

Choosing a Divorce Attorney

Choosing a Divorce Attorney

When separation and divorce are on the horizon in your marriage, selecting the right attorney may seem daunting, stressful and you may not know where to start. We are here to help. When looking for a divorce attorney, you want to find an attorney that aligns with your court process choice, your objectives and who communicates well with you. Just as you can choose to divorce in several ways called process choices, attorneys have different styles and not all attorneys are one size fits all. One of the best steps you can take when deciding on a family law attorney is to schedule consultations. Most experienced attorneys will offer a consultation to discuss your case and determine if it will be a good fit. A consultation also gives an attorney the chance to understand not just your case, but your goals and desired outcomes for going through the divorce process. A few important considerations to keep in mind when choosing your divorce attorney:

Communication, communication, communication. Divorce is such a difficult time in a person’s life and it’s paramount that you understand how you would like to be communicated with. Different attorneys communicate in different ways. Some attorneys will be blunt, honest and to the point, with very direct communication. Others will use a more gentle or finessed approach in their communication. Again, having that initial consultation helps you to determine what communication style will benefit you most.

Along with an attorney’s communication style, there is also their method of communication to take into consideration. Divorce is stressful, confusing and you’re going to have a lot of questions throughout the entire process. Some attorneys are more accessible freely than others. You have your desired forms of communication and so will your attorney’s office – whether that be telephone, email, in person meeting or text messages. Finding an attorney that you feel you can communicate effectively with can help manage stress levels throughout your divorce process.

During your consultation, you’ll also want to get a feel if the attorney understands your desired goals and outcome. Different attorneys have different specialties. Often times, the style of the attorney can set the tone for the entire divorce process and you want to make sure that the attorney you choose understands your process choice and how you want to handle the case. If you have a high conflict ex, you may want an attorney that will stand firm and help you fight for your goals. Or, having an attorney who is family-oriented and experienced with mediation for dependents rights is what is best for your case. Bottom line, find an attorney that aligns with your goals, personality and communication style. We have many experienced attorneys at our Murfreesboro Family Law office. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation!

Writing Your Tennessee Parenting Plan

Writing Your Tennessee Parenting Plan

Divorce is never an easy thing to go through, and when you have children the whole process can get even more difficult. Even with the most amicable of parties, agreeing on custody and all of the specifics that need to go into the parenting plan can get tricky. At Murfreesboro Family Law our family law attorneys understand you want what is best for your children. Having a parenting plan that is thorough and covers all of the important issues that could arise in the future will help prevent major issues from coming up later.  Our Murfreesboro Family Law attorneys are experienced and well-practiced in drafting parenting plans that include all of the necessary and important precautions you should take.

Here is a list of things parents should take into consideration when writing their parenting plan, but not limited to:

  • Custody Schedules
  • Holiday Break Schedules
  • Summer Schedules
  • Vacations
  • Overnight Stays
  • Transportation / Pick Up and Drop Off Locations
  • You Children’s Birthdays / Parent’s Birthdays
  • Child Care
  • Rules for Meeting New Romantic Partners
  • Car Seat Requirements
  • Vaccinations
  • Sleeping Arrangements
  • Curfews
  • Discipline Methods
  • Parent/Child Communication
  • Cell Phone Access
  • Internet Access
  • Religious Upbringing
  • School Activities and Extracurriculars
  • Third-Party Visitation
  • Insurance Policy Responsibilities
  • Final Decision-Making Authority
  • Medical Decision Protocols
  • Post-Judgement Modifications

 

CONTACT US FOR MURFREESBORO DIVORCE LAWYERS WHO HAVE SEEN IT ALL

Our family law attorneys have the experience and knowledge to help you and your family get the most out of your parenting plan — safeguarding your future as you move into the next phase of your lives. Divorce has many stages of litigation and we will help you every step of the way. You can have peace of mind knowing that your attorney has helped you and your ex-spouse create the best parenting plan that serves you, your ex-spouse and most importantly- your children. A well written parenting plan can help prevent any conflicts or misunderstandings and help keep everyone on track and hopefully prevent future court appearances.

To speak to a representative from Murfreesboro Family Law today, give us a call at 615-890-3656.

Paternity Rights in Tennessee

Paternity Rights in Tennessee

It is becoming more and more common for unmarried people to have children. It was found by the Pew Research Center that the number of children born to unmarried parents rose from 5% to 41% in 50 years. Unmarried parents have the same rights to parenthood and child custody as parents who are married. The only difference is paternity has to be established before the parent can argue their rights in court. Paternity means fatherhood and establishing paternity means determining the child’s legal father, which includes the rights and obligations of the father to the child.

When a child is born and the parents are not married, sole custody automatically goes to the mother. Legally, the father is presumed to not be biologically related to the child and he has no right to see his child without a court order. While this is unfortunate, this also means the mother cannot put the father on child support at this time.

If the father desires visitation or custody rights of his child, he must establish paternity first. The easiest way to do this is to be present at the child’s birth and help fill out the birth certificate. If the father was not able to be on the child’s birth certificate, he can establish paternity by filling out a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form or by DNA testing.

Traditionally, the unmarried mother had to file a petition with the court to establish paternity in Tennessee. Now, petitions to establish parentage can be filed by the mother, father, child, presumed father, or government.

Once paternity has been established, the father has all rights and responsibilities of a parent. While establishing paternity may go smoothly in some cases, it does not always happen that way. After paternity is established, you may have to spend more time in court for child custody disputes, child support disputes, or another reason involving your paternity. It is important to have an experienced family law attorney by your side during this time to help guide you through the legal processes.

Are you a father that wants to be present in your child’s life but you have no legal rights to them? We may be able to help! At Murfreesboro Family Law, we will help you navigate through Tennessee’s detailed child custody and visitation laws, so you can focus on being the best father you can for your child. We specialize in child custody, child support, divorce, adoption, and grandparents’ rights. For more information on our services, contact us at (615) 890-3656.

Sources:

https://www.divorcenet.com/resources/paternity-tennessee.html

https://www.custodyxchange.com/topics/custody/family-members/paternity.php

https://memphisdivorce.com/unmarried-parents-faqs-tennessee-child-custody/

 

Child Support Legal Help

Child Support Legal Help

Child support is one of the toughest things most couples have a hard time agreeing on during divorce or a parenting plan adjustment. In the state of Tennessee, there is a worksheet that is followed to help with this process. This worksheet is used by mediators, lawyers and the whole family court system when determining child support when an agreement cannot be made by the couple.

Your attorney will help you fill out this worksheet and help you navigate your child support wants and needs as you go through mediation with your child(ren)s other parent. For reference you can find the Tennessee child support calculator here https://www.tn.gov/humanservices/for-families/child-support-services/child-support-guidelines/child-support-calculator-and-worksheet-1.html. You can also download the app from the apple or android app stores which makes filling out the information even easier. Here are the criteria taken into consideration on the child support calculator:

  • Nights spent with each parent (or a third party if your parenting plan has a third party)
  • Income before taxes from both households
  • Insurance expenses for child
  • Reoccurring medical expenses for child
  • Work related child care expenses for child
  • Any other child support obligation of either parent
  • Other dependent children within the home of either parent
  • Previous deviations obligations

Once these criteria are plugged into a worksheet or into the app – you will have a good idea of where the child support numbers will be. Having an experienced family court lawyer with expertise in child support disputes and negotiations can help guide you on how to best prepare for your mediation and what you will need to provide for proof of expenses and income. Here are some other ways our experienced family law attorneys can help you with your child support case:

  • Help with filing petitions for your case, including those involving allegations of failure to pay child support.
  • Work to enforce petitions to enforce child support obligations through legal tools such as wage garnishment.
  • Help you to understand and support you with child support guidelines and the family court system to petition for an appropriate amount of child support.
  • Be your family’s advocate when you have special situations such as a special needs child, unusual child custody arrangements, a medically dependent child or other scenarios.

For more information or to discuss your case with one of our family law attorneys, give us a call at 615-890-3656. We are located at 119 N Maple St, Murfreesboro, TN 37130.

How to Get a Divorce When the Other Spouse Is Not Cooperative

How to Get a Divorce When the Other Spouse Is Not Cooperative

Divorces are complicated and they can be made even more complicated if your spouse does not want a divorce. Fortunately, you are not forced to remain married if you want out. If you take the four steps listed below properly, you can proceed with the divorce even if your spouse is being uncooperative. 

1. Determine the grounds for divorce.

It is required that you give a reason in your petition for divorce in all US states. Tennessee offers both “fault” and “no-fault” divorces. In Tennessee, a no fault divorce means that neither spouse was at fault and both spouses agree on every aspect of their marital dissolution. For at fault divorces, there has to be proof that one spouse was at fault for adultery, abandonment, drug or alcohol addiction, two year separation (without minor children), physical abuse, etc.

2. Serve papers on the other party.

The next step after filing your petition is to notify your spouse by serving them the divorce paperwork. You can get a sheriff, process server, adult family member, or friend to serve your spouse. You can also send the paperwork by mail or publish a legal notice in your local newspaper if your spouse cannot be reached. All legal requirements for serving your spouse have to be met or you could risk having your spouse use it against you in court and have the proceedings blocked. 

3. Wait the required number of days.

In the state of Tennessee, you will have to wait 30 days for a response from your spouse. The court will determine if the papers have been properly served and if the criteria is met, a court date will be set. 

4. Ask for a default judgement.

If your spouse has still not signed the divorce papers, you can still move forward with the divorce. It is best to work with an experienced divorce attorney, like Murfreesboro Family Law, because you will have to go to court. A default judgement requires filing a request and appearing at a hearing to testify that you have met the filing requirements. If your spouse does not show up for the assigned court date, the judge can grant a default divorce. 

Divorce is difficult, but we can help. If you are in the Middle Tennessee area, Murfreesboro Family Law can help you navigate through your divorce. We will guide you through the legal issues so that you can focus on moving forward with your life. For more information on our divorce services, contact us.

Sources:

https://info.legalzoom.com/article/how-get-divorce-when-one-spouse-wont-agree

https://attorney-knoxville.com/blog/filing-for-divorce-in-tn/

https://www.divorcenet.com/states/tennessee/tn_faq04

How to Navigate through Divorce During the Holidays

How to Navigate through Divorce During the Holidays

The holidays are a stressful time with all the Christmas shopping and family visits, but it can be even more stressful if you are going through a divorce during this time. Here are eight tips on how to navigate through divorce during the holidays:

1. Figure out the parenting schedule.
Avoid unnecessary conflict by already having your parenting schedule with your ex-spouse figured out. If you need a little assistance figuring out the schedule, CustodyXChange has a great resource and tips on dividing up time between you and your former spouse fairly.

2. Keep conflict away from your children.
Depending on their age, it can be hard for your children to understand that their parents are not together anymore and possibly do not get along. Do not speak negatively of your ex-spouse in front of the kids and keep conflicts between you and your ex-spouse away from them.

3. Be respectful towards your ex-spouse.
You and your spouse will likely have to come in contact with each other during the divorce. It can be difficult, but be respectful towards them, especially if the children are watching.

4. Be honest about what is going on.
Your children will eventually realize the severity of the situation. Be honest with your children about the divorce while keeping it respectful. Be honest about how you feel but do not let your emotions affect your children.

5. Let your children feel their natural emotions.
If your children are sad about their parents’ divorce, let them be sad. Do not try to force them to be happy. They will come around in time. To ease their minds a little, partake in fun holiday activities, watch holiday movies, or create new family traditions.

6. Don’t repress your feelings.
Whether you’ve known the divorce has been coming for a while or if it seemingly came out of nowhere, it can still be hard to come to terms with what is happening. It will be much more difficult to get through the divorce if you keep your feelings locked away, so allow yourself to feel anger and sadness but do not let those emotions control you.

7. Socialize with family and friends.
Being around loved ones is necessary during a time like this. Be sure to surround yourself with people who love and support you. Those frustrations that you can’t express around the kids, you can express to a family member or friend.

8. Do something for someone else.
Get your mind off of the divorce for a bit and spread holiday cheer to someone or a family that is less fortunate. Find a way to involve your children in whatever you do, whether that is giving to your favorite charity or helping out a family that cannot afford Christmas gifts this year. You will teach your children a great lesson about helping people in their times of need while you are going through a low point yourself. 

Do not lose sight of what you are grateful for this holiday season. Divorce may seem like the end of the world for some but remind yourself that you have little ones and new experiences to live for. If you are in the Middle Tennessee area, Murfreesboro Family Law can help you navigate through your divorce. We will guide you through the legal issues related to your divorce so that you can focus on moving forward with your life. For more information on our services, contact us.

Do Grandparents Have Rights In Tennessee?

Do Grandparents Have Rights In Tennessee?

Divorce or any other circumstance that causes a disruption in custody and availability of a child to see their grandparents is devastating. When situations like divorce, death, separation, estrangement and/or abandonment happen, often times it’s grandparents that stand to lose the most. If your grandchild’s parents are making it difficult for you to visit, there are situations where you can sue for visitation rights. However, in Tennessee the laws on this issue are complicated.

First you will have to prove grandparent standing. Tennessee law states that grandparents must have standing under the following circumstances:

  • One of the child’s parents have died
  • Child’s parents are divorced, separated or were never married
  • One of the child’s parents have gone missing for at least 6 months
  • The child resided with the grandparent for a minimum of six months prior to a parent removing the child from their home. If grandparents asked the parent to take the child or asked the parent to leave resulting in the child leaving, that’s different.

A child does not have to have lived with the grandparent to have legal standing in the state of Tennessee — if grandparent can prove a substantial existing relationship for at least one year, and then the parent chose not to allow the child to have access to the grandparent for reasons other than abuse or endangerment. That loss of contact could cause the grandchild significant emotional damage — especially if the grandparent was the primary caregiver for the child for a significant amount of time. On the contrary, if the grandchild had little to no contact with grandparent and had not established a significant relationship with the grandparent, visitation rights are much harder to gain in the state of Tennessee.

If your situation can meet any of these above standards the next step would be petitioning the court. Our family law attorneys would walk you through what the process looks like and petition the court on your behalf.

As in all family court cases involving children, the court will look at the child’s best interest, keeping in mind that older children will be given a chance to speak their preference in such a decision. Other factors that are considered in the child’s best interest are parental unfitness, if a grandparent is the parent of a deceased parent and the good faith of the grandparent.

In the end, grandparent’s rights in Tennessee are complicated. If you are curious about your rights and want to discuss your potential case to sue for visitation rights, give us a call. Our family law attorneys are experienced in grandparents right’s laws in Tennessee and have the history with the courts to help you better understand where your claim stands and how we can help you achieve your goal.

5 Things an Adoption Attorney Wants Adopting Parents to Know

5 Things an Adoption Attorney Wants Adopting Parents to Know

Adoptions often times can be a confusing legal process, but there’s good news – Murfreesboro Family Law is here to help you navigate all of it! Our experienced family law attorneys can answer all of your legal questions throughout the process. Adoption laws very depending on the state you’re dealing with, so it’s crucial you are aware of the laws that affect your specific situation.

We know you’re interested in the legal process of adoption, adoption is a time in a couples lives that is exciting but a little scary too. We get it. Just as much as you have things you want to know, as adoption attorneys there are things we want adopting parents to know too – and things that aren’t just itemizations and costs.

1. “Be patient.”

Adoption is a complicated process with So..Many..Steps! It can take some time to complete your adoption and the best thing you can do for you, us and baby is be patient. You’ll need to expect wait times when it comes to finding an adoption opportunity, receving ICPC clearance, meeting the residency requirements, etc. Patience during this time can be hard, we get it, but it can be one of the most helpful things to bring about a more positive adoption experience.

2. “Read what our attorneys and your agency sends you.”

A lot of the questions you need answer to, are answered if you read all of your mail and emails from your adoption agency and from us. Adoption Professionals put a lot of time and effort into the materials we provide and send to you — based off of years of experience.

3. “Complete your home study and supervisory visits in a timely manner.”

We talked about patience, here is something you can focus on to help pass the waiting. Make sure you finalize all your requirements for your adoption. If you’re not updating the requirements as needed, your adoption could be delayed and that would create unnecessary waiting. Make sure to plan and complete requirements in a timely manner.

4. “ICPC takes time, and we are moving as fast as we can. “

We understand how frustrating it can be to have your adoptive child placed with you but because the adoption is not finalized, being unable to return home to your normal lives. We want you to know, we want you to go home too — we are moving as fast as we can. Our family law attorneys will do all that we can to expedite the process and get you home and enjoying your new son or daughter soon!

5. “After the adoption finalization, some states take months to send the amended birth certificate.”

Amended birth certificates can take a long time to be delivered to you in many states. If there is an immediate need for the new birth certificate for things like a passport, you will need to let your attorney know as soon as possible. Without letting your attorney know, you could be using a lot of patience up waiting for that birth certificate.

Most of all remember your adoption attorney is on your side. We want to do everything we can to make your adoption experience a positive one. Listen to our advice and suggestions and understand we try to make the process as easy for you as possible letting you focus on what truly matters — bringing home your child.