When mediation is possible, it is usually the best option. However, complex divorce issues, the division of assets and liabilities, alimony, and child placement often drive divorce disputes into the courts. In a legal separation, you can divide the assets and liabilities, provide for the residential placement of children, and set up financial support payments. If a legal separation agreement is in place, and it provides for a disposition of all assets and liabilities, either party may submit the legal separation agreement to the court to finalize a divorce.
The advantage of a legal separation is that the parties are still married.
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This means that a spouse can remain under the insurance coverage of the insured spouse and that the parties maintain the legal relationship of marriage in the event of death or disability of a spouse. Five separate issues must be decided: Grounds for Divorce — Who is granted the divorce?
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The grounds for divorce in Tennessee include: abandonment, two years separation, adultery, inappropriate marital conduct, and irreconcilable differences. Child Residential Placement — Commonly referred to as child custody, child placement involves the living and visitation rights of each parent. Prior to the completion of the divorce, the parent must attend a co-parenting class and complete a parenting plan. The fact that the acts alleged as grounds for divorce occurred after the separation of the parties is not a defense to a divorce action.
Finding a Lawyer If an individual wants a divorce, it is in his or her best interest to retain a lawyer.
It can be hard to find a lawyer, and it may be helpful to obtain advice from relatives, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, or other lawyers. When asking such people for lawyer referrals, it is important to explain to the type of legal problem at issue.
Legal Separation vs. Divorce in Tennessee
If someone had a similar type of problem and was satisfied with his or her lawyer, it might make sense to consult with that lawyer. When filing for divorce, it is permissible to give a mailing address, rather than a home address, to prevent an abusive spouse from finding the individual seeking a divorce. Either the husband or wife must have resided in Tennessee for at least six months before filing a divorce complaint unless the grounds for divorce occurred in Tennessee.
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The divorce takes effect on the day the judge signs the final decree of divorce. In mediation, the husband and wife will work with a trained mediator to discuss their problems and make their own decisions.
Mediators do not make decisions for the parties. They provide a safe environment where the husband and wife can each communicate confidentially. Mediation is rarely appropriate, however, if there has been violence or intimidation between spouses.
The spouse who has committed the violence or intimidation often continues to exert power over the abused spouse during mediation so that the parties do not have equal power in reaching decisions. For this reason, if one spouse has an order of protection, if a court has found domestic abuse between the spouses, or if one spouse has been criminally convicted of domestic abuse, Tennessee law requires that a court can order mediation only if the abused spouse consents to mediation.
Divorce vs. Legal Separation in Tennessee
If the abused spouse consents, he or she may have a support person of his or her choice present during the mediation. The support person may be an attorney or an unpaid advocate. CMC mediators are trained volunteers from various backgrounds. They include University of Tennessee faculty, attorneys, social workers, corporate executives, teachers, business persons, retirees, and other community members. Mediation can be quicker and less costly than litigation.
To be divorced, parties still need to file a suit in court, but mediation can help spouses reach an agreement to present to the court so that a trial is unnecessary. Legal Separation In Tennessee, there is an alternative for married couples who cannot live together as husband and wife but who do not want an absolute divorce.
Alimony One spouse may be ordered to pay alimony to support the other.
Temporary support or alimony, often called alimony pendente lite, may be awarded pending the grant of a divorce and is distinguished from an award of alimony after the divorce has been finalized. The court may decide to award custody to either party or to both parties in joint custody or shared parenting. In shared parenting, the primary residential parent is the one with whom the child will reside the majority of the time, and the alternate residential parent is the other parent.
In shared parenting, major decision-making authority will often be joint, even if the child resides with one parent more than the other during the year. Even if a parent is not awarded residential parenting time with a child, the parent typically will still have visitation rights. One possible disadvantage to still being married to each other and obtaining a legal separation would be that the law in Tennessee presumes that any child born during the time of marriage is presumed to a child of the marriage.
Therefore, if a legal separation is obtained and not a divorce and a new child is born then the husband would be automatically presumed to the father of that child even if the husband and wife no longer lived together. Again, with a legal separation you are still legally married so even though you are legally separation there maybe consequences to still bring married to one another. If you have further questions please do not hesitate to contact us and schedule a free initial consultation.
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