FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

HOW IT WORKS

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Can I come to see you before I’m certain that I want to file for divorce?

Answer

Yes. In fact, I prefer to meet with a potential client before the divorce pending. That allows me to advise the person to take actions that might change the outcome of their divorce if they are put into place before someone actually files.

The first step is to call to set up an initial consultation. During the initial consultation, I will learn about the unique facts of your situation, and give you my assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. If there are actions you can take to strengthen your position in a legal battle, I will advise you to do so, and discuss my tentative strategies for maximizing your outcome. At the end of the meeting, I will have enough information to set a retainer amount if you choose to hire me to represent you.

What will it cost?

Answer

For an initial consultation, I charge a flat fee of $100. Typically, the consultation meeting runs about one hour. The total cost of a divorce or other family law matter can vary greatly. Due to the unpredictable nature of litigation, it is impossible for any attorney to predict the total cost of a divorce with certainty. If you choose to hire me to represent you, you will pay a retainer, which is like a deposit to be applied toward future service. Once retained, time devoted to your case by attorneys is billed at $300 per hour. Time devoted to your case by paralegals is billed at $100 per hour.

Can I get my ex for abandonment or neglect? If so, who should I contact that will accept a mother with no income?

My husband and I have not been getting along these past few months so he decides to take his son, from a previous relationship, and two yr old, from a previous relationship, and move in"temporary" with his mom in Alabama. But we have a seven month old little girl together which I've been taking care of her by myself because I am currently unemployed. My husband works weekend days at a plant. We are renting a house in Fayetteville, TN but for a month now it's just been my infant and myself. He pays child support for his two yr old but has not really helped me with our daughter.

Answer

With a new baby in the house, two other children in a newly blended family situation, and you out of work, your household has enough stress to challenge any marriage. You may want to consider marriage counseling to see if your relationship is worth saving. Divorce will not put you in a better financial position, and you will no longer be able to see your baby every day. Be sure you are aware of the consequences if you choose to seek assistance from a divorce attorney and file for divorce -- it is not a magic bullet to make all problems go away.

How can we keep the boy friend away from the children until the divorce is final?

My son-in-law was recently kicked out of his home and replaced by a boy friend. They have 4 children 8 years and younger. Is it possible to keep the boy friend away from the children until the divorce is final.

Answer

When your son-in-law files for divorce, he can ask for a hearing on the issue of whether the children can be exposed to the new boyfriend. However, there is no hard and fast rule here. Some judges will routinely prohibit contact between the children and the new lover. Others will prohibit only overnight visits or ask for proof that the boyfriend is a danger to the children (such as history of violence, child abuse, or drugs). In some cases, a judge may place no restrictions on contact with the boyfriend, but if the exposure continues, the judge may weigh it heavily against the mother at the final divorce because it shows such poor judgment as a parent.

My ex does pay child support faithfully but he has not called or visited in 2 years, is that abandonment?

I recently lost my job after injuring my back and have been experiencing depression. My doctor instructed me to file for disability. My son and I are now on TennCare. I had to sign papers agreeing for the state to go after my ex husband for insurance. Knowing my ex, he will sue me for custody rather than pay more than he currently is. Will my suffering with depression go against me if he does go for custody? Is it abandonment?

Answer

There are numerous factors that a judge would consider in any child custody case, but certainly, two factors that would weigh heavily against your ex are not visiting in two years, and filing for custody in retaliation for a child support increase. Your illness and disability are relevant only to the extent that they impact your ability to parent. As always, it is a good idea to keep meticulous records of calls/visits.

My wife wants to buy a house while we are in the beginning stage of divorce. Does the house become marital asset ?

Hello, my wife and I are in the beginning stage of divorce, we are yet to file. With our rental agreement expiring next month, my wife decided that she wants to buy the house before going through the divorce. What can I do to protect myself as I'm clearly not interested in purchasing a property under the circumstances. What can I do to protect myself if she does end up buying the house before divorce is final ?

Answer

In Tennessee, any property purchased during the marriage up until the date of your final divorce is marital property. It would be extremely unusual that a mortgage company would close a home loan without the spouse's signature on certain documents. If your wife is eager to buy a house before the divorce, you may be in a position to negotiate for something you want. I recommend having an attorney draft a complete divorce settlement for her signature before you cooperate with her home purchase. Of course, in any event, you would not want to be a borrower on the home loan.

Revoking visitation for NCP who doesn't use it & is moving out of state?

Is there a way for a child custody or divorce attorney to help me revoke visitation rights for a non-custodial parent, if they do not use the visitation they have been given and then move out of state? This will be the second time my ex has moved away from our daughter. The first time he moved, he did not try to see her for a year and I suspect that it will be the same this time, as he's moving back to that area. He clearly does not want to be involved in her life and I want to protect her from the back and forth disappointment. He is also significantly behind on child support - which will only get worse after he leaves.

Answer

If you document your ex's failure to use his parenting days for some length of time, such as 6 months, you will have a strong case to suspend his visitation. Many judges would allow him to come back to court and ask for some gradual visitation plan in the future. If you are remarried, and your husband wants to adopt your daughter, you may have a case to permanently terminate the father's parental rights.

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