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Bartlett Tennessee Family Law Blog

How a parent's substance abuse may affect child custody

In some child custody cases, parents in Tennessee may be worried about the safety of the child with the other parent if that parent abuses drugs or alcohol. In assessing whether that child can spend time with the parent, the judge will consider two elements: One is the allegation of substance abuse, and the other is whether that substance abuse means the parent is not able to care for the child. A court always uses the standard of the best interests of the child in making a decision.

The judge will take these concerns into account when making a decision about child custody. However, in some cases, a parent may become aware of the other parent's substance abuse after a custody and visitation schedule has been set. If this happens, the parent may want to return to court with evidence such as police reports. In some cases, it may be necessary to file a restraining order.

Spouses can face unexpected restrictions during divorce

When Tennessee couples decide to split up, they may think the process will be as simple as signing some documents. However, many spouses are surprised to learn that there can be several restrictions placed on them until the divorce is finalized.

For example, actress Angelina Jolie recently found out that she can't take her six children to London while she films a new movie. This is because her custody battle with ex-husband Brad Pitt has not yet come to an end. Travel restrictions are common during a divorce, especially if one spouse is from another country. Family courts may be concerned that a parent could take the children to another part of the world to prevent access to the ex. Parents also have travel restrictions within the United States. A parent cannot take the children to another state without the other parent's written permission or a court order. Doing so could lead to police intervention and serious legal woes.

More women paying alimony, child support

More women in Tennessee are becoming the primary breadwinners for their families. As a result, more women are being ordered to pay spousal and child support after divorce.

For most of American history, women weren't expected to pay alimony. In 1979, however, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision that made spousal support gender neutral. By 2010, only 3 percent of alimony recipients were men, but a new survey indicates that an increasing number of women are being asked to pay support of some kind. According to the survey, which was conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 45 percent of divorce attorneys report an increase in ex-wives paying alimony over the last three years. Meanwhile, 54 percent of lawyers have noticed an increase in mothers paying child support over the same period of time. This corresponds with a Pew Research study that found that women are the main breadwinners in 40 percent of American homes.

Mediation could help resolve issues for an uncontested divorce

If you and your spouse know you're headed toward divorce court, you may not be on the best terms. However, that doesn't mean that you have to engage in a protracted court battle for your assets and custody of your children. Just because you don't currently agree on how to separate your lives from one another's doesn't mean that an amicable resolution isn't possible.

Even if you know you won't be able to reach a mutually acceptable solution on your own, mediation could still be a viable solution. Many couples, even those who are barely speaking to one another, can make mediation work. The benefits of mediation are considerable, so it's worth considering if you think there's any hope of you and your spouse finding a compromise about your assets and children.

The Cost of College and How It's Addressed During Divorce

Tuition bills can be daunting for families. In the case of a divorce, tuition is one of the hardest financial issues to address. If expenses like these are planned for correctly, divorcing couples in Bartlett, Tennessee won't have an issue navigating these topics.

An estimated 4 out of 10 marriages end in divorce. An estimated two-thirds lack a financial plan that covers these subjects in the event of a divorce. Lack of arrangements makes it difficult to plan for the children's education expenses.

Reasons for the increase in gray divorces

When a spouse age 50 or older gets a divorce, it is known as a gray divorce. This type of separation has become more common in Tennessee and throughout the country in recent years. Part of the reason is because there are more people are falling into this age demographic. In 2010, there were 99 million Americans who were 50 or older. That number was just 63.5 million in 1990.

Older Americans are also divorcing in larger numbers because the concept of marriage has changed. Many people believe that marriage should be a source of fulfillment. However, when researchers actually asked older Americans why they were divorcing, a lack of fulfillment wasn't necessary the most-cited reason. For men, questions about how their spouses spent money and raised the children led to resentment.

Hiring a financial planner during divorce

Couples in Tennessee who are facing divorce often wonder how they are going to handle the financial challenges that come with separation. Many people are turning to financial planners to help relieve some of the stress and uncertainty that accompany the process.

During this time, many aspects of a person's finances may change. Many people will need to make changes to their health insurance and life insurance polices, for example. A financial planner may be able to help couples look at divorce with a collaborative approach so that both parties can walk away from the marriage in the best financial shape possible.

Some women may be unprepared for financial side of divorce

Some women in Tennessee may be among the more than half of married women who allow their husbands to make the major financial and investing decisions according to a survey by UBS Global Wealth Management. The firm surveyed 1,500 couples with at least $250,000 to invest and found that most married women reported that they were happy with this setup. However, a majority of the 600 widowed and divorced women surveyed said they wished they had been more involved in financial decision-making.

There can be disadvantages to this lack of involvement. With the divorce rate for people over 50 on the rise, it can mean that women who have not managed finances in decades must quickly learn how. There can also be unpleasant surprises. For example, some women learned about their husband's debts during divorce. More than 90 percent of widowed or divorced women said that they wished financial matters had been handled more transparently in their marriages.

You can't agree to waive child support before or during a divorce

You're trying to make your divorce as quick and simple as possible. There are many compounding factors, including your desire to retain custody of your children. Your ex doesn't necessarily want custody, but he doesn't want to end up responsible for massive amounts of child support either. You may feel tempted to agree to conditions for divorce that include waiving child support.

In fact, you may have already signed a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement stating that you will not pursue child support from your spouse in the event of a divorce. While this waiver may come from your desire to make the split easier on your children, you do not have the legal right to waive child support for your children.

Advantages and disadvantages of joint legal custody

People often think of child custody as being about where children live, but there are actually two types of custody. While "physical custody" is about who a child lives with, legal custody is about who has the decision-making authority about issues such as the child's education, religion and health care. It is not uncommon for parents to share legal custody while one still has primary physical custody and the other has regular visitation rights.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to sharing legal custody. One advantage is that it pushes parents to communicate effectively. While this can be difficult at first, it will ultimately help their coparenting relationship. It is also good for children to see their parents working together, dealing with disagreements maturely and reaching a solution. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that parents will be able to work together or that they will both make decisions that are in the best interests of the child.

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