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Divorce Lawyer in Murfreesboro TN
Divorce is a life changing event. The long term implications are critical, legally and personally. Rigid legal regulations which determine the outcome and your future are complicated and challenging to interpret without help from a legal professional. It is important to invest in professionals that will help you navigate this difficult process.
Reasons for Divorce
Most states now offer a “no fault” divorce option. This means that one party doesn’t have to prove that the other party did something legally wrong during the marriage. If the marriage has broken down and the preservation of the marriage is not possible, then it is legal regardless of consent of both parties.
Legal Requirements for Divorce
The first step is typically learning where to file. County or state government is the default option. For those with families in the military, you may to able to file where ever you are currently stationed. Laws exist to protect those in the service from civil lawsuits, so be aware of this fact. For more information, look up the following: military divorces, eligibility and residency.
Divorce is not the only option for ending a marriage. Legal separation enables people to make legal choices about custody, property, and child support without legally ending the marriage. This option is commonly used for health care and religious purposes. Annulments is a legal term for voiding a marriage. This has some of the same legal implications, but does so stating that the marriage is invalid. Annulments are typically used for those who were too young to legally marry at the time, those coerced/forced into marriage, or due to already being married.
The first determination to make is whether it will be categorized as “fault” or “no fault.” If no children are involved, then you may file for a “summary” divorce. If children are a factor, then child custody and child support paperwork will need to be completed. You may fill out the papers on your own, with a lawyer, or at a legal clinic. Seeking legal advise before doing this task is always a good idea. This may help you preserve your marital property and other rights.
Division of property depends highly on whether the state has “community property” laws. Community property means both spouses own all property gained after marriage equally. All property obtained after marriage will be split 50/50. Outside of community property laws, spouses are allowed to come to a property division agreement that the court can approve.
Alimony or spousal support is regular payment from one ex-spouse to another after a divorce has taken place. Payments are arranged by the parties involved or court-ordered. The purpose of alimony or spousal support is to dampen the negative economic effect that it can bring to one party. The amount of alimony is determined case by case and depends upon individual property ownership and income. Whether child support is required, earning capacity, length of marriage, and other factors also matter.
Due to the complex nature of divorce and emotions running wild, many will need legal help in order to be represented fairly in court. Legal assistance is not needed for every single divorce case. If you are concerned about the legal or financial effects, then it is in your best interest to hire a lawyer or at least seek legal advice.
If your mind is made up and divorce is inevitable, its important to know how the legal process works. Court can be extremely trying, so do your research well in advance to be mentally prepared for this stressful time. Let’s start with answering the basic questions such as where to go, no fault, serving/answering a petition, discovery, and the family court process. Other topics which we have that we’ll lightly touch on include child support and custody, mediation, and privacy concerns. We have individual pages for information on child custody and mediation.
Once documents have been filed in court, someone will have to “serve” the papers to your spouse. You have multiple options for this, including: serving your spouse personally, hiring a process server, or having local police deliver the papers in case domestic abuse is a factor.
If you have just been served with dissolution papers, you will still have the ability to tell the court how you want the divorce handled. It is very important to give an answer before the state law deadline. You may also fill out these forms yourself or get legal aid. Whether serving or receiving papers, its always a good idea to seek legal advice.
The point of mediation is to prevent a long, stressful and costly court hearings. If both parties can come to an agreement, then it will be settled out of court. This is known as a “collaborative process” or “alternative dispute resolution.” In some states mediation is required before cases can go to trial.
If you both parties don’t settle via mediation, then the case goes to trial. Just like a normal trial, you’ll need evidence to support your case which may also include testimony from witnesses. It is strongly advised to get an experienced attorney if your divorce case goes to trial.