Divorce Attorneys in Franklin, Tennessee
Guiding clients throughout Tennessee through the divorce process
There is no easy way to end a marriage. Even the most amicable and good-natured people can feel angry, frightened, anxious, or disillusioned with the process, or become openly hostile to one another as the proceedings move forward. The stress and tension you feel can be compounded when you have children, own your own business, or have amassed considerable assets during the course of your marriage.
At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we understand that divorce is not just a legal matter but a highly personal life event affecting you and your family for years to come. Whether you need help filing for separation, filing for divorce, or pursuing a collaborative divorce, our compassionate divorce lawyers in Franklin have the experience and character to vigorously represent your rights.
How can we help?
- Do you really want to get divorced?
- What is the difference between uncontested and contested divorce in Tennessee?
- What is a collaborative divorce?
- What are the grounds for divorce in Tennessee?
- How long does it take to get divorced in Tennessee?
- How can I protect my financial future, including my right to property in Franklin?
- What types of complex divorces does your Franklin family lawyer handle?
- Are there alternative ways to resolve divorce disputes other than trials?
- Do you have a divorce lawyer near me?
Do you really want to get divorced?
This is a more difficult question than you might think. It’s also the reason why Tennessee requires all couples with minor children to undergo mandatory divorce mediation before they decide; sometimes, issues can be worked out and the marriage will remain intact. A judge may also mandate mediation for two people without children if the judge thinks mediation will help.
You may also decide that rather than get divorced, a separation will work better for you. Separation addresses many of the same concerns as divorce does – child custody and access, alimony, property division – but you remain legally married.
If a divorce is, indeed, the best option for you, then our attorney will explain how to proceed.
What is the difference between uncontested and contested divorce in Tennessee?
Divorce generally falls into two categories: uncontested and contested.
As the name implies, an uncontested divorce in Tennessee is one in which the spouse does not contest—or disagree with—the reason for your divorce or a divorce-related issue such as property division, child custody, spousal support, or child support. If you are the plaintiff (the spouse filing for divorce), you will testify in court, but your spouse (the defendant) does not need to appear. Being a more traditional form of divorce, you will need witnesses to testify as to the veracity of your divorce grounds. The marriage dissolution and orders contained in it become final thirty days after the final decree is entered.
A contested divorce is one in which both parties cannot agree on how to proceed. Many divorces are contested; this is not surprising, since the situations leading to the decision to get a divorce are often contentious and based on differences that cannot be reconciled. In a contested divorce case, the parties disagree on one or several issues, such as property division, alimony, custody and visitation, or child support, and must therefore go to trial.
What are the grounds for divorce in Tennessee?
Tennessee recognizes these grounds for contested divorce:
- Desertion (two or more years)
- Criminal conviction leading to infamy
- Felony conviction that leads to time in a penitentiary
- Attempted murder of your spouse
- Carrying another man’s child
- Habitual drunkenness or drug use
- Excessive cruelty
- Behaving so intolerably that your spouse has to leave (or vice versa)
Tennessee also recognizes two grounds for uncontested divorce:
- Irreconcilable differences between the parties; and
- For a continuous period of two (2) or more years that commenced prior to or after April 18, 1985, both parties have lived in separate residences, have not cohabited as man and wife during such period, and there are no minor children of the parties.
How long does it take to get divorced in Tennessee?
To obtain a divorce in Tennessee, one of the parties involved – you or your spouse – must have lived in the state for at least six months. In cases where you and your spouse have agreed on things like alimony, custody, and property division, and have submitted all the appropriate and correct paperwork for a judge to determine how much child custody should be awarded to the primary residential parent – then you could conceivably be divorced within 60 days (without minor children) or 90 days (with minor children) of filing the paperwork.
However, not all divorce proceedings will move that quickly or smoothly. Contested divorces often take significantly more time, and if your case goes to trial, it could take up to a year and a half. The other thing to remember is that Tennessee has a six-month residency requirement. Either you or your spouse must have lived in Tennessee for at least six months, and only the spouse who has lived here for that amount of time is eligible to file for a divorce. This requirement may be waived in emergencies, such as with evidence of domestic violence.
How can I protect my financial future, including my right to property in Franklin?
We work step by step to identify all the marital property and income you and your spouse own or have a right to claim - including the marital home, financial accounts, personal possessions, business interests, retirement benefits, and other assets.
- Asset division. We understand the factors that determine how property is valued and divided. Often, you will be able to trade off some of your assets to keep the assets your prize the most. In addition to the type of assets and the value of the assets; other factors that determine your share of the assets include the health and age of the spouses, the earning power of each spouse, and any other existing agreements.
- QDROs. A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is a court order that determines when and what portion of your retirement plan or your spouse’s plan is divided and paid.
- Divorce for business owners. If you or your spouse own a business or have a financial interest in a business, we help you decide whether it’s better to keep the business (especially if it provides an income) or sell the business and divide the proceeds.
- Spousal support. We’ll explain what factors determine whether a spouse is entitled to support or must pay support and the amount and length of any support order. We’ll also explain the different types of spousal support/alimony that Tennessee authorizes.
- Pre/postnuptial agreements. Our Franklin divorce lawyer helps prepare prenuptial and postnuptial agreements that contractually determine how property is divided and how spousal support/alimony is handled when a divorce occurs. Depending on your circumstances and the contract, we may try to contest a prenup or a postnup.
What types of complex divorces does your Franklin family lawyer handle?
Our attorney handles the following types of divorces:
- High asset. We represent spouses who have many different types of assets. We help identify all these assets and place a proper value on them. We review when one spouse or the other should keep each asset and when the asset should be sold. We review all related financial issues such as tax issues and business succession issues.
- High conflict. If your spouse contests everything you want to do because he/she can’t admit the marriage is over or because of other emotional difficulties, we review your options. For example, we explain when alternative dispute resolutions may work with a bitter spouse and when it’s best to just ask for a court hearing.
Are there alternative ways to resolve divorce disputes other than trials?
The collaborative divorce process is different from a traditional divorce in several respects:
- The couple agrees to settle outside of court.
- The process involves two lawyers, one representing each spouse.
- The attorneys and spouses function as a team of four working toward a mutually beneficial resolution.
- The team works in collaboration with full and voluntary disclosure of records and information shared.
- If both sides continue to work collaboratively throughout, the team agrees to the terms of a divorce decree, which is submitted to the courts and finalized.
Mediation is another alternative divorce process. It’s similar to collaborative divorce in that the spouses try to resolve their differences voluntarily in a less contentious setting. With mediation:
- A mediator is appointed to try to resolve your disputes.
- The mediator works with both spouses and their lawyers to try to settle.
- Mediation may require more the one session.
- For the issues that are resolved, the mediator presents a divorce decree with the agreed terms to the family court judge for the judge’s approval.
- The mediator’s decision is not final. Whatever issues cannot be resolved are litigated before the family court judge.
Do you have a divorce lawyer near me?
Our Franklin divorce law office is located at 219 3rd Avenue N.
We understand how upsetting a divorce is. We’ll help you understand and assert your rights and prioritize your needs. We’re skilled at identifying all your marital assets, your spouse’s income, and your debt obligations. In most contested divorces, we can negotiate strong just agreements. We’re always ready to argue your rights before a judge if your spouse is uncooperative or unreasonable.
Contact a reliable divorce attorney in Franklin
We’ve been fighting for spouses for 30 years. The Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates has experience and resources to help you protect your financial future and start the next phase of your life. Our Franklin, TN law firm has a strong divorce concentration. Our clients rely on us to protect their interests when going through a contested or uncontested divorce. Call us today or use our contact form to schedule your free initial consultation. Offices also located in Columbia & Brentwood.