Tennessee Family law issues can often be the most difficult ones for individuals to have to deal with. When it comes to cases dealing with child custody, child support, divorce, or alimony, it can often mean high emotions and high stress levels for all parties involved. Often times, the feelings of frustration or anger can lead people to make poor decisions that will have long term, negative consequences for their daily lives. When any of these issues are on the table, it is vitally important for individuals to seek the legal help of an attorney well versed in family law and regulations for the state in which their case is taking place.

Tennessee Family Law Help and AdviceIt is important to know that the laws governing family matters vary greatly from state to state, which is why residents of Tennessee should seek the legal help of an attorney well versed in this state’s laws. Often times, legal proceedings for family related issues can be emotionally complex, making it more difficult for individuals to navigate the waters and make decisions that are not based on how they are feeling. Family law attorneys can help their clients better understand the laws while also giving them insight into their rights under those state laws as either parents, spouses, or both.

Tennessee Divorce Help and Advice

Under Tennessee state law, a spouse can file for a fault or no-fault divorce. A “no-fault” divorce includes circumstances like separation without cohabitation for a period of two years without children involved or irreconcilable differences. A “fault” divorce includes circumstances like adultery, bigamy, willful desertion for a period of one year, cruelty, a felony conviction, and/or abandonment. Individuals who have lived within the state for at least six months or spouses who live out-of-state but the other party lives in-state can also file for divorce.

Tennessee Child Custody Help

Like most other states across the country, the state of Tennessee makes child custody decisions based on the “best interests of the child” standard. Tennessee state law allows the court to award child custody to only one parent (sole custody) or to both parents (joint custody). Should one parent be awarded physical custody of the child, it is not uncommon for the other parent to receive a significant amount of visitation time, which is also referred to as “parenting time.” While this is often the case, these decisions are always made with the child’s best interest in mind.

Before making an official order for Tennessee child custody, judges always encourage parents to attempt to work together to come up with their own parenting plan that will serve the child’s best interests as well as the parents’ interests and schedules. In most cases, parents create a calendar outlining which parent has the child at which time including weekdays, weekends, summer vacations, holidays, and other special occasions. This parenting plan also needs to outline who is responsible for making decisions regarding the child’s medical needs and education.

Tennessee Child Support Help

In the state of Tennessee, both parents, whether they are married or not, are responsible for financially supporting the child, often referred to as child support. The amount of Tennessee child supports to be paid from one parent to the other is based on a number of different factors including the number of children the couple have together, how the parenting time is split between parents, the combined income figure of both parents, and a number of other factors. The parent primarily responsible for caring for the child (custodial parent) often receives child support from the other parent.

Parents who are ordered to make child support payments can often estimate their payment amounts by using Tennessee’s child support guidelines, which are a simple fee schedule. Parents do have the option to pay more in child support than what is estimated by these guidelines but never less. In either situation, the court must approve the final amount of child support paid between parents in order to ensure the amount is adequate to cover the child’s expenses, such as clothing, food, and shelter, while also not being so much that it financially cripples the parent making child support payments.

Tennessee Father’s Rights Help

A child’s mother has been most traditionally seen as the most important relationship and caregiver for her child, which is why the majority of court rulings in the past have seen mothers gain primary custody of their children. More modern rulings, however, have seen the importance of a father’s role in a child’s life being more prominently displayed. Studies have shown that children who have a present, loving, and involved father do better in school and have better language and social skills. Additionally, fathers have also been found to be effective disciplinarians for children.

Many times fathers enter into child custody cases not knowing or fully understanding their rights to time and a positive relationship with their children. In these cases, a family law attorney specializing in fathers’ rights can be especially helpful. While there is often not a question of paternity for fathers who were married to their child’s mother, fathers who were unwed often have to begin legal proceedings to determine if they are or are not the child’s biological father. This is an important step when it comes to beginning a child custody case and also determining child support payments.

In the state of Tennessee, paternity can be established either by voluntary establishment where both parents agree to who the father is or involuntary establishment, which is done through the legal system. During involuntary establishment, the process is started by filing what is called a “Petition to Establish Parentage” at a court located in the county where either the child, mother, or presumed father reside. A number of different parties can file this petition including the child’s mother, the child’s presumed father, the child him or herself with the help of a guardian, or the Department of Human Services.

What Do I Do Now?

When individuals are faced with any Tennessee family law issues, such as divorce, alimony, child custody, or child support, it is important that they seek the advice and guidance of a lawyer well versed in family law for the state of Tennessee. These professionals help their clients make important decisions about their future instead of making decisions based on emotion and frustration. Often times when individuals enter into a family law case on their own, they can make poor decisions that will impact their future negatively for years to come. Having a knowledgeable lawyer can make all of the difference.

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