Columbia Divorce Lawyers

Columbia TN Divorce Attorney

Strong advocacy for spouses and children when a marriage ends

It’s natural to be anxious and fearful when a marriage ends. Living apart is much more expensive than living together. You worry about paying your bills, whether you will have to move, and what assets you’ll be able to keep. You worry about how the divorce is affecting your children, whether they will still live with you when the divorce or separation begins, and who will pay for the education, living expenses, and healthcare.

Rest assured that we understand what you’re going through and we have the experience and resources to help you. For 30 years, the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, have been helping people in Columbia and throughout middle Tennessee assert their rights to their marital property, spousal support, and child support. When both parents are willing to work out their differences, we can craft agreements that protect the interests of you and your children. When parents can’t agree, we understand the specific factors that judges review to decide divorce disputes.

How can we help?

Should you divorce?

Tennessee doesn’t want Columbia residents to rush into a divorce. The state requires that couples with minor children (and some parents without children) undergo mandatory divorce mediation to help determine if the marriage can be saved or if a divorce is necessary.

Some spouses may decide that a formal separation is the better option. Generally, you need to resolve the same issues when you separate as when you divorce (except that divorce terms are permanent). These issues include the division of marital property, alimony, child custody, and child support.

Our Columbia divorce attorney helps spouses and parents resolve disputes through negotiation, mediation, the collaborative divorce process, and trial before a family law judge.

What’s the difference between an uncontested and a contested divorce in Columbia, TN?

Our family law attorney handles both uncontested and contested divorces:

An uncontested divorce in Tennessee means that all of the divorce issues have been resolved. These issues include the grounds for divorce, division of assets, spousal support, custody of the children, and child support. If the divorce is uncontested, you will need to testify and have witnesses testify on your behalf – but your spouse won’t be required to testify. 30 days after the final decree is entered, the marriage will be officially over and the financial and child orders will become permanent.

contested divorce means that one or more open financial issues haven’t been resolved yet. They need to be resolved by agreement and by a judge’s ruling.

What are the grounds for divorce in Columbia, TN?

Tennessee recognizes these grounds for contested divorce:

  1. Abandonment
  2. Adultery
  3. Attempted murder of your spouse
  4. Behavior that forces a spouse to leave
  5. Bigamy
  6. Criminal conviction leading to infamy
  7. Desertion
  8. Excessive cruelty
  9. A felony conviction that results in jail time
  10. Habitual drunkenness or drug use
  11. Impotency
  12. Pregnancy with another man

There are two grounds for an uncontested divorce in Columbia:

  1. Irreconcilable differences
  2. You and your spouse live in separate residences for two continuous years, don’t cohabit as man and wife during that time, and don’t have minor children

What’s the time frame for obtaining a divorce in Columbia?

To file for divorce, one of the spouses must have lived in Tennessee for six months or longer. The time limit may be waived if there is evidence of domestic violence or other emergencies. It can take as short as 60 days (90 if you have minor children) to obtain a divorce if the divorce is uncontested (both spouses agree on every divorce issue).

Contested divorces can take up to a year and a half if there are open disputes and the spouses can’t agree on anything.

How do you advocate for spouses who are divorcing?

First, we’ll put your mind at ease. We’ll answer all your questions. We ask a lot of questions to fully understand your personal situation, how your children are coping, your financial assets and income, and all divorce-related issues. We regularly work with appraisers, real estate brokers, child psychologists, and others to help identify and value the marital property, the income of each party, and the needs of your children.

We help you prioritize your financial goals and explain the various options for achieving those goals. We work to settle disputes through negotiation and alternative non-trial methods such as mediation and collaboration - when your spouse is reasonable. If your spouse is unreasonable, we prepare your case for trial and aggressively assert your divorce rights before a family law judge.

Our Columbia family law firm has three decades of experience negotiating and litigating the following divorce issues:

  • Division of marital property. Our Columbia divorce lawyer helps you identify all the property you and your spouse own. We help show the strength of each factor courts use to decide who keeps which property, such as the value of the assets and marital debts, the health and age of the spouses, the ability of each spouse to support themselves, the needs of the children to have a stable life, and many other factors. In many cases, we help spouses keep their priority items and obtain their fair share of the remaining assets.
  • Interests/ownership in a business. Some spouses own their own business. Both spouses may own a family business. A spouse may have a partnership interest or stock in a business. We help place a proper value on the business and help you and the court decide if the business should continue, if it should be sold, and what your interest in the business or the sales proceeds should be.
  • Retirement benefits. Many Columbia residents have pensions, 401ks, IRAs, and other retirement benefits that have vested at the time of the divorce – even though they can’t be claimed until the spouse retires. We help negotiate your fair share of your and your spouse’s retirement accounts. We regularly negotiate qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs) so that you can claim your fair share of a retirement account (yours or your spouse’s) when you’re eligible to file a claim.
  • Spousal support/alimony. Often, one spouse is in a stronger financial position than another spouse. We help spouses in need of support obtain alimony to pay the bills during the divorce, lump sum payments or installment payments, rehabilitative alimony, and regular monthly alimony payments. We also represent spouses who want to limit the amount of support they pay.
  • Pre- and post-nuptial agreements. At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we prepare agreements before and during marriage that pre-determine how property will be divided and what spousal support will be paid in the event of a divorce. We also file challenges to prenups and postnups.

Do you handle high-asset and high-conflict divorces?

Some divorces require an extra level of experience, such as financial experience or hands-on experience when your spouse or your spouse’s lawyer objects to everything you do. Some of the complex divorce cases we handle include:

  • High-asset divorces. Some spouses, especially those who have been married for a long time, have many different types of assets where the marital property is worth large sums of money. We’re skilled at handling disputes involving unlimited wealth, homes, businesses, intellectual property, stocks, retirement accounts, jewelry and art collections, assets in locations outside of Tennessee, and other valuable assets. We work with professionals to place the correct value on these assets. We also help you decide whether it’s best to keep the assets, sell them, or do something else with them like secure your children’s futures.
  • High-conflict cases. If your spouse is litigating whether you should be divorcing, is trying to use his/her financial advantage, or is just being obnoxious; we have the experience and resolve to obtain the results you deserve.

Are there friendlier alternatives than court trials?

Collaborative divorce or mediation may help resolve conflicts. In some divorces, the only answer is to present the strongest case possible and let the judge decide. Both methods are generally less expensive, less time-consuming, and friendlier than trials. It’s normally best for both the spouses and children if they can work things out and save their money for their own personal needs.

In a collaborative divorce, the spouses and attorneys work with financial professionals and other experts to help forge a consensus. With mediation, a neutral third party works to facilitate a settlement. The end result for both alternatives is either a full settlement which is written and approved by the judge – or a partial settlement or failure to settle any issues in which even the family judge decides the remaining divorce issues.

Do you have a divorce lawyer near me?

Our family law office is located at 604 N High St in Columbia, TN.

We understand that divorce is your one chance to make the best of your marriage by protecting your financial security and the security of your children. Many divorce disputes do settle. We have 30 years of experience trying cases before judges when disputes can’t be resolved.

Contact a respected Columbia, TN divorce lawyer today

It’s tough enough worrying about your happiness and how you’re children are coping with a divorce. You shouldn’t have to worry about your finances and your children’s future when parents live apart.  At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we’ll calmly but strongly be your advocate with your spouse, your spouse’s lawyer, and before the family law judge. For help now, call us today or complete our contact form to schedule your consultation.