Tennessee Process of Uncontested Divorce
An agreed divorce, is often referred to as “no fault” divorce, or uncontested divorce. In Tennessee an uncontested divorce is the dissolution of marriage upon irreconcilable differences. As opposed to a contested divorce in which the Plaintiff/Petitioner must establish evidence of fault grounds for Divorce. An irreconcilable differences divorce does not require the establishment of legal fault grounds. You and your spouse state that you can not resolve your marital differences but you agree to be divorced. You agree to a settlement of all of the issues involved in dissolving the bonds of matrimony.
Settlement of Property Issues in Agreed Divorce
Now that both spouses have reached a agreement to be divorced based upon unresolved differences. Husband and wife must now reach agreement as to all property issues. In Tennessee, an uncontested divorce or agreed divorce can not be finalized by the Court until the parties have submitted a Marital Dissolution Agreement. This agreement resolves all issues of property and debt. This includes alimony (spousal support), and all other property issues between the parties. The marital dissolution agreement (MDA) will determine who gets the house ( if there is one), the automobiles, household items, etc. The MDA will designate which person is responsible for payment of the particular debts of the marriage. If there is a marital home and the couple has equity the home then there will be a provision which determines how the equity value is to be divided and paid. Sometimes this is set up as on offset against another asset. Like a retirement account, or other investment. The divorce attorney will advise you as to best way to handle equity in the marital home or other real estate.
This division of marital assets and debt also includes the equitable division of retirement accounts, including 401 K accounts, within the parameters allowable by law. Retirement accounts and each spouse’s share thereof is typically dictated by federal ERISA regulations. The divorce lawyer will advise you more fully on these issues, and may have to prepare a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) in order to properly deal with the retirement account interests of the husband and wife.
Child Custody and Support in Uncontested Divorce
In a Tennessee uncontested divorce, parenting issues must be resolved by agreement. When there are children which were born from the marital relationship then the parties must also submit an agreed Permanent Parenting Plan. This resolves all issues of child custody, child support, and all other issues involving the future parenting, supervision and control of the children. In Tennessee a parenting plan is the legal instrument which is adopted as a court order. It delineates the parental responsibilities for the minor child or children. This includes who the child resides with and when. In Tennessee this referred to as parenting time not visitation. And who is responsible for the decision making in the areas of education, health and medical care, religious upbringing, etc. In Tennessee child custody is most usually considered as shared parenting with joint decision making. Both mother and father having equal ability to make the major decisions for the child.
Child Support in Agreed Divorce
In an agreed divorce or uncontested divorce child support must also be established by agreement. Child support will need to be determined based on the incomes of both parents. It will be set in accordance with the Tennessee child support guidelines. When making a child support agreement in an uncontested divorce, legal counsel is necessary. The guidelines for child support are very rigid. Tennessee courts will not allow parties to drastically vary from the guidelines or waive child support. The divorce attorney will advise and guide you in the child support issue. The lawyer will ensure that the proper child support is set according to law and will be approved by the court.
The Role of the Divorce Lawyer in an Uncontested Divorce
As with all legal issues it is best to retain an attorney in order to get an agreed divorce. In divorce, especially involving children, there are many issues that must be dealt with and each issue has own legal ramifications and consequences. It is the divorce lawyer’s role to advise you regarding the legal issues, help you reach or fine tune your agreement, then to draft all of the necessary legal documents to make your agreements legally binding and proper to be submitted to the court. Often times a couple can retain one divorce lawyer for an uncontested divorce. If you and your spouse can not agree on all issues you may opt to participate in divorce mediation then have your divorce lawyer draft the court documents based upon the mediation agreement.
Chattanooga Family Law Attorney and Divorce Lawyer
A caring divorce lawyer can help the emotional trauma and understands your situation, which makes the legal problems of divorce a lot easier to deal with -divorce is never easy. At Purple Law Firm you will find experience and a professional caring attitude. Jim Purple , family law attorney in Chattanooga, who understands the issues involved in divorce. Family Law Attorney Jim Purple draws upon his many years of experience as a lawyer in family law matters including agreed divorce. Contact Purple Law Firm to help you through the process of obtaining an uncontested divorce in Tennessee.