Tennessee Family Law Attorneys

Family Law FAQs

Honest Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Divorce can be a complex process, and the attorneys at Baker Associates understand that individuals rely on the honest answers our lawyers provide.  Questions involving such issues as child custody, child and spousal support, and property division can make divorce an intimidating and frightening experience.  Our lawyers are committed to providing our Tennessee clients with the guidance and assistance they need to resolve their divorce.  We understand how daunting the process can be, and we are ready to answer any and all of your questions.

Do I need a divorce lawyer?

The divorce process can be complex.  To ensure that your rights are protected, the lawyers at Baker Associates, serving Sevierville, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge, recommend that you consult with an experienced attorney who can guide you toward an equitable resolution of your case.

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What are the grounds for divorce?

Tennessee law permits divorce to be sought on several possible grounds.  Spouses may seek a no-fault divorce when they agree that their irreconcilable differences prevent the marriage from continuing.  In a divorce sought on grounds of fault, however, a spouse must justify the dissolution by proving one or more of the following:

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How long will my divorce take?

For uncontested divorces, the minimum amount of time before the divorce can be finalized is 60 days after filing if there are no unmarried, minor children.  For couples with unmarried, minor children, it will take at least 90 days to finalize the divorce.  A contested divorce, however, can take anywhere from six months to two years to complete. 

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What is the divorce process in Tennessee?

After a couple files for an uncontested divorce, they must draft and sign a marital dissolution agreement.  In addition, if the couple has minor children, they must prepare a permanent parenting plan that outlines arrangements for the care and custody of their children.  The couple must then attend a court hearing to determine whether their agreement complies with Tennessee law.  If the judge accepts the agreement, he or she will issue a final divorce decree.

After a party files for a contested divorce with the court, he or she must then give notice of the filing to the other spouse.  Once the spouse answers the divorce petition, the parties begin the fact finding portion of the process.  After discovery, the trial commences; at the conclusion of the trial, the court issues a final decree that grants or denies the divorce.

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How is alimony determined?

In Tennessee, the law sets specific guidelines for the payment of alimony or spousal support, and either spouse in a divorce may seek such support.  Although there are different types of spousal support available, the courts typically prefer that support paid to an economically disadvantaged spouse be rehabilitative.  This means that support is awarded for a particular period of time to allow that spouse the opportunity to improve his or her earning potential to a point where he or she is no longer disadvantaged relative to the other spouse. 

Some factors the court will consider when determining support arrangements include:

Though alimony is intended to be rehabilitative, the courts may grant indefinite alimony in cases where it is determined that temporary support does not meet the needs of the recipient.

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How does the court determine the division of marital property?

Tennessee law requires that marital property be divided equitably between spouses at the time of divorce, regardless of fault.  Property acquired by each spouse prior to the marriage, or received by one spouse as a gift or as part of an inheritance during the marriage, is considered to be separate property and is exempt from division. When determining the division, the court will consider:

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What are the factors the court considers when determining a child custody arrangement?

When awarding custody, the court will determine the arrangement that ultimately serves the best interests of the child. Tennessee law forbids courts from considering the gender of the parent in making its determination, but joint custody is typically favored over sole or individual custody in any event. 
Some of the factors the court will consider when awarding custody include:

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Is the custodial parent permitted to move the child out of state?

When the move is not motivated by malice and serves the best interests of the child, a custodial parent may move his or her dependent child out of the state.  However, if the non-custodial parent wishes to challenge the move, he or she may petition the court for a modification of orders.  In any case, whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced child custody attorney to ensure that your rights, and the rights of your child, are being upheld.

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Can I change my custody arrangement?

Yes.  Changes in circumstances affecting the financial condition of the spouse or the needs of the child may be valid reasons for seeking modification of child support orders.  However, any changes requested must be in the best interests of the child in order for the court to approve them.

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How much child support will I receive?

The courts use a complex equation to determine the amount of child support to be paid by one party to the other.  This equation takes into account each spouse's income, the number of children, childcare expenses, residence, and any special needs the child may have. In most cases, child support is paid through the child's eighteenth birthday. The child custody lawyers at Baker Associates will work on your behalf to ensure an arrangement that best suits your needs and the needs of your child.

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Do I need a lawyer to represent me in my child custody dispute?

Though you may represent yourself, the lawyers at Baker Associates recommend that you retain the services of an experienced family law attorney to help guide you through the often complex legal process.

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Contact the Divorce and Child Custody Lawyers at Our Tennessee Firm

If you are involved in a child custody dispute, you need an experienced attorney to help you reach a fair and favorable arrangement.  At Baker Associates in Knoxville, our child custody lawyers serving Sevierville and all of Tennessee have the knowledge and experience to guide you toward a successful resolution of your dispute.  Contact Baker Associates to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. We are committed to providing the honest answers you need to make an informed decision.

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Contact the lawyers at Baker Associates for answers to your questions concerning your divorce.






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Knox County
2126 First Tennessee Plaza
800 South Gay Street
Knoxville, Tennessee 37929

Phone: (865) 521-0001
Toll-free: (866) 853-2888

Sevier County
121 Court Avenue
Sevierville, Tennessee 37862

Phone: (865) 546-6000
Toll-free: (866) 853-2888

Washington County
300 East Main Street
Johnson City, Tennessee 37601

Knoxville Family Law Attorney Disclaimer: The family law, child custody, divorce or other legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case. Please contact a lawyer at our law firm. This web site is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the State of Tennessee.


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