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Bartlett Tennessee Family Law Blog

How to get ready financially for divorce

People in Tennessee who are considering divorce might want to first take the step of getting their financial house in order. This might start with getting copies of all financial documents including bank statements and tax returns. This step could be particularly important if a person anticipates that the divorce may become acrimonious and it might be a struggle to get this information from the spouse. These documents should be kept somewhere safe such as in a safe deposit box or with a friend.

People should review any joint accounts for evidence that they are being misused by the spouse. Another document that may be handy is a credit report. It is best to get any wrong information corrected before the divorce is underway.

Tips to guide children gently through the divorce transition

The dissolution of a marriage is an emotionally challenging time for all members of a family in Tennessee. Parents have the added burden of managing how the breakup affects their children. A commitment to co-parenting and sensitivity to the emotions of the children can aid parents during the establishment of two parental households.

Parents generally try to share custody so that children can maintain relationships with both parents. This process requires a co-parenting plan, and people should strive to have similar house rules so that children experience consistent expectations about their behavior. While working out the terms of a divorce, a parent could ask their children if they feel any responsibility for the split. Children often blame themselves, and a conversation can give parents an opportunity to alleviate these feelings.

Take action to protect assets during divorce

When couples in Tennessee make the decision to divorce, dealing with the financial complications of the end of a marriage can sometimes surmount the emotional and practical issues that arise. It is very important for individuals to protect their assets and prioritize their financial future during the divorce as they go through the process of dividing marital assets.

One step that each person can take as they prepare for divorce is to open a personal bank account in their own name. An individual account will allow people heading for divorce to begin to develop their individual financial identity, especially after using a joint account for many years. It must be noted that such an account should not be used to hide funds from one's partner. In addition, it is important to close joint credit accounts. Debts accumulated during the marriage will be divided in the divorce, but preventing additional debt from being added to the joint pile can be a key priority in the time before divorce.

Signs that you should seriously consider divorce

All couples have their ups and downs during the course of their marriages. The occasional tiff over money or your respective duties around the house probably is not enough to land you in divorce court. However, there are other signs that might indicate that it is time to call it quits. For example, if you and your spouse have fundamentally different life goals, it could be impossible to make your marriage work.

While every couple is different and the proverbial nail in the coffin might come in different forms, there are various signs that are common indicators of divorce. If one of the following situations applies to you, it might be time start the divorce process.

Alternatives to traditional custody and visitation arrangements

Parents in Tennessee who split up may have many more options for custody arrangements than they did in the past. Courts used to have a tendency to award custody to mothers, and fathers would have limited visitation rights. However, this is changing, and couples are exploring options that allow children to spend more time with both parents.

For example, some parents have the children remain in the family home and take turns living there. However, this does not work for everyone. One couple found that they argued over issues such as the condition the house was left in, so they switched to a schedule in which they each have the child on different weekdays and alternate weekends in their own homes.

When parents interfere with custody rights

If a Tennessee parent tries to disrupt the custody rights of a former spouse, that is referred as custodial interference. In many cases, parties will be encouraged to resolve the matter on their own outside of court. However, it may be necessary for such cases to come before a judge. Those who engage in custodial interference could be charged with a crime and spend time in jail if convicted.

There are many different ways in which a parent may interfere. For instance, he or she may neglect to release the child back to the other parent at the agreed-upon time or at the agreed-upon location. Interference may also occur if a parent picks a child up from school without having the legal authority to do so. While a parent may be taken into custody for taking such an action, it may open the door to renegotiate a parenting plan.

Accuracy critical when dividing retirement funds in divorce

Dealing with retirement funds can often be the most complex and even contentious part of ending a marriage, even for Tennessee couples who have already committed to an uncontested divorce. Because these funds are so important to both spouses' financial futures and health, ensuring that they are divided properly and equitably can be a major concern that requires detailed attention. These funds are often the largest single asset being handled as part of a divorce, reflecting their central importance for both parties.

Even when both parties have come to an agreement about how property division is to be handled as part of their uncontested divorce, it is critical for the legal and financial technicalities related to retirement funds to be followed in order to protect the assets in question. When retirement accounts are inappropriately distributed, both spouses can lose significant amounts of money to taxes, fees and other penalties.

How to make financial plans in case of divorce

When two people in Tennessee get married, they might not want to think about the possibility of divorce. However, as one expert pointed out, just as wearing a seat belt in a vehicle can be a wise precaution, financial planning that anticipates the possibility of divorce might also be a good protection.

A couple who is already married can create a postnuptial agreement, which is similar to a prenup. However, there are a number of other ways that people can also protect themselves financially. One of those ways is by setting up separate accounts. Even if the couple has one main joint account, separate accounts can be used for any property either person wants to keep separate.

What if my child’s other parent wants to move away?

Although finalizing your divorce with the court can feel like closing the book on a difficult period of your life, the truth is that if you have children, the story is never quite over. Until your children are grown, you will likely continue sharing parenting responsibilities with your ex.

For many families who have gone through divorce, life moves on and the kids grow up in two different households. However, for some, another plot emerges in which your ex wishes to move away, perhaps out of state. The reasons might vary, such as relocating for a career opportunity, to be with a new partner or spouse, or to take care of an elderly parent. Perhaps they just want to get away and start over.

Older couples should take financial care during divorce

Since 1993, the rate of divorce for American adults over the age of 50 has more than doubled, and statistics show that this trend is continuing to increase. For people in Tennessee and across the country, divorce can be a challenging time at any time of life, bringing with it a number of emotional, practical and financial changes. However, when people choose to divorce later in their lives, especially after a marriage of many years, the divorce process can be even more complex.

This is especially the case when the divorcing spouses have garnered substantial assets over the years. Comprehensive records and detailed understanding of the financial status of the spouses can be necessary to achieve a just settlement. One action that a spouse can take is to make a complete inventory of all of the property that belongs to the couple, including both jointly and individually held assets. Prior employment records can also be surprisingly relevant in the divorce as they can help bring to light a range of assets such as stock options or pensions that should be considered in the divorce.

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