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East Tennessee Family Law Blog

Learning from celebrity child custody wars

There are many differences between celebrity child custody battles and custody fights between private Tennessee residents. Examples of these differences include the presence of wealth and often pristine living conditions, both of which can have an effect on a court's child custody decisions. However, one of the biggest differences between celebrities and ordinary citizens seeking custody is attention.

Because celebrities are famous, the public gets to hear about the often dirty details of their child custody disputes. Thankfully, the custody issues that ordinary citizens face are generally much more private. If you have ever wondered how not to handle a child custody battle, we urge you to take a lesson from celebrities who let their disagreements get out of hand.

Busting the deadbeat dad myth with in-kind child support

What does in-kind child support mean? Essentially, it means that noncustodial parents, traditionally fathers, provide their children with food and necessities in lieu of or in addition to traditional child support payments.

It's important to understand that providing gifts instead of child support payments without a court order is not legal and may get you into hot water with Tennessee family law courts.

Attorney tips to reduce anxiety during divorce mediation

You may already know about the many advantages of choosing divorce mediation over litigation. Affordability, speed, privacy and flexibility are just a few. However, because divorce often goes hand-in-hand with emotional turmoil, many spouses divorcing in Tennessee still have difficulty controlling their anxiety during mediation.

As family law attorneys certified in divorce mediation, we often look for ways to help all parties reduce the discomfort they feel during mediation. It is actually a more important issue than you may think because anxiety can interfere with your thought process, which in turn can affect the outcome of mediation. In the interest of helping families through divorce, we offer the following tips to reduce your anxiety throughout the process of mediation.

Sorting through the details in a high-asset divorce

Spouses seeking a high-asset divorce in Tennessee have many expectations about how the process will evolve. Divorce attorneys try to anticipate these expectations and to have answers ready for their clients. It is safe to say that many clients are surprised when their lawyer shifts the focus to seemingly small details instead of diving right in to the "meat" of the divorce.

First, details are critical to your case in a high-asset divorce. Your attorney simply wants to make sure he or she is aware of anything that might endanger attempts to protect your interests. Attending to details early on leaves you and your lawyer free to address sensitive matters as your divorce progresses. Examples of sensitive divorce issues requiring discussions that are more thorough include:

  • Child custody
  • Spousal support
  • Child support
  • Property division

Flexibility is valuable when co-parenting during summer vacation

Summer is traditionally when people take vacations. After all, kids are out of school, and the weather is typically beautiful. However, summer vacation trips can become much more complicated in the wake of a divorce. You and your ex both want to spend time with the children as possible, which can create additional scheduling stressors.

The good news is that with the right attitude and some pre-planning, you can approach your divorce and summertime co-parenting with a healthy and positive attitude. As long as you're open to compromise, are flexible and able to communicate with your ex, all can enjoy a relaxing summer.

Don't let your child custody issues rob your kids of these rights

If you are a recently divorced parent, you already know how difficult it is to find a good balance. Everything is different and strange, which makes the peace you so desperately need seem more elusive than ever. Emotions run high and you could find yourself in more disputes with your co-parent than you experienced during your marriage.

As a loving parent, many of these continuing conflicts revolve around your kids even though your divorce is over and your child custody agreement is in place. Take heart because in most cases, these conflicts lessen over time as you, your co-parent and your children find a new rhythm. In the meantime, it is critically important not to let child custody disagreements affect your kids in a negative way.

Are there any disadvantages associated with divorce mediation?

Once couples in Tennessee reach the conclusion that divorce is what they need to move forward, they will have to make decisions on how to proceed with this goal. For some couples, courtroom litigation is the best choice and for others, divorce mediation meets their needs. A good way to determine which option will work best for each couple is to look at the pros and cons of divorce mediation.

This blog has already addressed the advantages of mediation. To avoid rehashing what is readily available for readers, here is a brief list of why this process is effective for many couples:

  • More affordable than litigation
  • Reduces conflict for kids and parents
  • Protects the family's privacy
  • Typically faster than litigation

Child support during incarceration in Tennessee

Regardless of which side of the prison bars a parent is on, incarceration leads to huge child support problems for Tennessee families. If a noncustodial parent ends up in prison, it is a good bet that he or she will not be able to pay child support. This means three major things:

  • Most important, the children are not getting the financial support they need and deserve.
  • The custodial parent will probably have to find a way to take up the slack financially.
  • The incarcerated parent will continue accruing child support debt.

Such a situation benefits no one and adds to the nationwide problem of unpaid child support. Those who pay the highest cost in these situations—the children—are also the most innocent. As family law attorneys, we sympathize with everyone impacted by these kinds of circumstances. However, legally, there's not a lot that parents can do to mitigate the situation.

What to do when your co-parent has a substance abuse problem

You always knew that your ex drank a little too much and maybe used marijuana occasionally. However, the kids never saw it. Therefore, it was nothing that you considered worth bringing up in the custody negotiations.

Since the divorce, however, you've been hearing things from the kids and mutual friends (and possibly observing things yourself) that lead you to believe your co-parent may have moved into a full-blown substance abuse problem. You're concerned for the safety of your kids when they're with their other parent.

Know your rights as a grandparent when you've been denied visits

Being a grandparent is one of the most rewarding experiences of life. You can experience all of the joy that comes from watching a young person growing up with the added wisdom that comes from having already raised your own children. There is something uniquely special about the bond between grandparents and grandchildren.

Sadly, there are many situations in which grandparents find themselves unable to connect with the children they love. Perhaps your child got divorced and didn't secure custody. The other parent, your former daughter or son-in-law, may refuse you time with the children. The same thing could happen if your child unexpectedly dies or if he or she never married the other parent. Thankfully, Tennessee protects the rights of grandparents.

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