3 situations that make hiring a Tennessee divorce attorney advisable

Legal representation is often necessary in divorces that involve domestic violence allegations, child custody disputes or business division.

Divorce is rarely a simple process, given all of the issues that must be settled before the divorce decree can be finalized. Still, many people in Seymour may consider navigating the process alone, whether due to a desire to save money or other reasons. Unfortunately, this can be risky in most cases, and it may have especially harmful long-term impacts in the following situations.

1. Dividing family businesses

If a divorcing spouse owns a business, the treatment of that asset during property division can be a complex issue. In Tennessee, most property that spouses acquire during marriage is considered marital property, which is subject to division between both spouses. This is true even if one spouse exclusively owns and runs the business. If one spouse started a business before marriage, meanwhile, any increase in its value or any resulting income might be considered marital property.

According to Crain's Chicago Business, spouses should consider a few things when dividing a family business. First, correctly valuating the business is essential. To minimize the associated expenses, spouses may want to work together to select one firm to complete this task. Next, spouses must decide whether one person will keep the business. Spouses who wish to maintain joint ownership should weigh how well they can work together and consider creating an arrangement that allows for easy buy-outs later.

2. Cases of domestic violence

The occurrence of domestic violence or allegations of it can also create complications during divorce. Victims of domestic violence may need to seek protective orders, which can require an abusive spouse to cease contact, move out of the family home or financially support the victim. In the event that the spouses have children, allegations of violence may need to be taken into account when child custody and visitation plans are established.

In these situations, it's essential for both spouses to take steps to protect their safety and parental rights. An attorney may be able to assist a spouse in obtaining an appropriate protective order or challenging accusations of violence.

3. Disputes over child custody

Parents in Tennessee have the right to independently reach custody and visitation arrangements, but for many families, actually doing so can be difficult. This may especially be true when allegations of abuse, proposed parental relocations or other complex issues come into play. In these situations, a family law judge must decide which arrangement would be best for the children based on several factors, including:

  • The nature of the relationship between the child and each parent
  • Each parent's stability and physical or mental health
  • The preferences of the child, assuming that the child is mature enough to make such a decision
  • Each parent's ability to encourage the child to maintain a relationship with the other parent

Given these criteria, the way that parents characterize themselves and their relationships in court can be highly influential. Therefore, it's important for parents to understand all of the criteria used to determine custody and visitation plans in Tennessee and present their cases accordingly.

Pursuing a reasonable settlement

Some divorcing spouses may still hesitate to seek representation, even in these circumstances. However, spouses should remember that revisiting a settlement later can be costly and time-consuming. Additionally, certain aspects of a divorce decree, such as property division, cannot be changed later. Therefore, people who face these complicating situations should consider working with an attorney to ensure that the most favorable settlement possible is reached.