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East Tennessee Family Law Blog

Avoid a scorched-earth divorce with mediation

Just because a couple has decided to divorce, that does not mean they need to begin tearing each other to shreds in the courtroom. That may be hard to believe in the beginning stages when hearts may be raw and emotions uncontrolled, but it is possible to get there eventually.

Mediation allows divorcing spouses to reach accord on some or all of the aspects of their split. It's often a good way to settle custody matters because it keeps all of the divorce negotiations out of public access.

Divorce mediation: What does the process entail?

You don't want to jump into divorce mediation until you know exactly what the process entails. While there are sure to be surprises and challenges along the way, the more information you have up front, the better off you'll be.

How does a mediator help?

How can I find my child's other parent?

If you and your child's other parent aren't married and/or they are not contributing to the child's support, you have the right to seek child support payments. That, however, can be easier said than done if you do not know the other parent's whereabouts. But that does not mean that the door to support remains closed to you. In fact, you owe it to your child to seek support so that you can provide for your child the best life that you can.

So, how can you initiate this process? In some cases, the other parent may not be aware that you gave birth to his child if the relationship was brief or very casual. In those situations, it will be necessary to first establish paternity. He can submit a DNA sample that will be compared to the child. If it is a match, typically he will have to pay for the test. Once paternity is established, you may then seek support according to the guidelines established by the state of Tennessee.

Avoid the trauma of false child abuse allegations

It's a sad reality that kids sometimes wind up as pawns in their parents' divorces. Asking children to take messages back and forth between parents and letting the kids overhear derogatory remarks made about their other parent, are just a couple of ways that kids can be manipulated during and after divorce.

Perhaps the worst example of this is when one parent makes false allegations of child abuse against the other parent. This can be severely damaging to the children who may then be forced to submit to invasive testing procedures and interrogations by police, prosecutors, medical personnel and counselors. A false allegation of child abuse can be in itself a form of child abuse.

Who gets the dog in a Tennessee divorce?

When couples divorce, two of the most complex issues to settle are those involving custody and property settlement. But where these two matters converge is determining who will take ownership of any pets.

Spouses are often surprised to learn that in almost every state — including Tennessee — pets are treated as property to be divided by the courts. This is anathema to those who treat their companion animals as another loved and valued member of the family.

How much are your spouse's collectibles worth?

When divorces unfold, the spouses often get caught up in the emotional aspects of the split and fail to focus on the terms of the property settlement. This can be a major mistake because what you take away from the marriage is what will prepare you for the life ahead.

Some divorcing spouses don't even realize the value of some marital assets that they surrender without a fight. This is particularly true when one spouse collected assets that might be hard to valuate.

When to seek counseling for the kids after a divorce

Divorce is hard on the spouses, but it is equally hard — if not harder — on the children. The many changes that are incumbent with a divorce can play havoc with the kids' security and stability.

Parents must be protective of their children during these difficult transitions. Kids may not be able to articulate their feelings or know what they need. The emotions they feel can frustrate and confuse them.

Surviving the holidays when you're about to divorce

If you are stuck in a bad marriage, chances are good that you may be dreading the upcoming winter holidays. Perhaps you and your spouse have already made the decision to divorce but didn't want to traumatize the kids during what is supposed to be a joyful time of the year.

It's likely not going to be your best family Christmas, but below are tips to help you and your soon-to-be-ex make it through the season.

Should you mediate your divorce?

While splitting up with your spouse may be inevitable, you still have choices in how the relationship is dissolved. For many couples, mediating their divorce is preferable to litigating it in court.

There is a lot of misinformation out there about the collaborative divorce process. One of the most common misperceptions is that mediators are attorneys. While this is frequently the case, it doesn't always hold true. Regardless, the mediator will not be your attorney in the case, so each spouse must still retain their own counsel.

How to know when you need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order

Long-married couples with significant assets have more to lose in a divorce than those who were only married a short while and have few assets or resources. That's why it is imperative that both parties retain their own Seymour family law attorneys who can fight to make sure their clients receive all that they are legally entitled to have.

When it comes to retirement accounts, the working spouse is sometimes surprised to learn that their soon-to-be ex is entitled to a large chunk of the proceeds. This is true whether or not the spouse ever worked outside of the house or not.

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