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If you are a resident of Tennessee, it is wise to know how the divorce laws work in your state, as these can be slightly different from one state to the next. Whether or not you are considering a divorce right now, looking into some of the details can help a lot if this ever becomes a reality. Below are some key points to consider, and you may want to seek legal assistance if you require further clarification or have additional questions.
If you would like to declare fault in the divorce, you are allowed to do so, but Tennessee recognizes both no-fault and fault-based divorces. In many cases, fault is not needed, but you may find it advantageous if you are seeking full custody of your children. If the reason that you want to get a divorce could also be a detriment to your children, this can help your case.
Additionally, you can file for a divorce after a separation from your spouse. However, this separation has to last for at least two years, so it has to be a fairly permanent split.
Speaking of child support, it is important to know that the amount that must be paid by each parent is going to be calculated in every single case; there is no way to know exactly what it will cost until this calculation is done. However, the courts are going to have a goal of ensuring that both parties pay to help raise the child. Getting custody does not mean that you are exempt from paying, or that you have to raise the child without assistance. Common factors that play into the court's decision are where the child lives, which parent has more responsibilities regarding the child, what the income levels are for both parties, and the like.
Even if the child lives with you, a portion of your income will be declared to be child support, to be supplemented by whatever your spouse provides. It is not intended that you use only your spouse's payments as support.
When determining custody arrangements, the judge is going to attempt to put the child —- and not the parents -— in the best possible position. This could mean giving one parent custody if he or she will not move the children out of the neighborhood or the school system, for instance. It could mean examining each parent's lifestyle and living situation to determine which home would provide a better atmosphere. It could also include looking at things like income levels, criminal records, and more.
No matter who ends up with the main custody —- there is both physical custody and legal custody -— of the child, though, the court will attempt to give the other party visitation rights and/or joint custody so that the child has two parents involved in his or her life. The only time this will not be the goal is if it is decided that one parent could be a problem for the child —- in cases of abuse, for instance.
Since Tennessee uses equitable division guidelines when dividing property, the judge will determine a fair split of the assets and property, though everything may not be split with 50 percent going to each party. Additionally, you and your spouse can both claim things that you did not buy together or income that you made exclusively, and that will be considered. The property is not always considered to belong to both of you as a single family unit.
Finally, you should know that you or your spouse must be a resident of Tennessee for the divorce to be filed. Either party will need to have spent 180 days -— roughly six months —- living in the state. However, you do not have to have been together in Tennessee for that whole time, so you can file for divorce if one of you lived elsewhere and recently moved.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified divorce lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local divorce attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.