Ending a marriage is, in a word, complicated. Even if the reason for the divorce is straightforward – such as infidelity, financial problems, emotional or physical abuse, or irreconcilable differences – separating your lives and assets rarely is.
According to Psychology Today, there are two particularly “chronic” sources of stress in a divorce: the known stressors (starting over, loss of familiar lifestyle, change in finances, children’s response) and the unknown stressors (whether the settlement will be fair, fearing others’ judgment, not knowing how to make ends meet).
While stress is inevitable in a divorce, you have an opportunity to reduce your stress in multiple areas simply by hiring a divorce attorney. Here are 4 specific ways a divorce lawyer will be able to assist you in your case:
- Filing for Divorce
- Child Custody, Support
If you are facing divorce, you will want an attorney who will be aggressive when needed, look out for your interests, and keep your family in-mind. Contact our divorce lawyers at The Cassell Firm today.
Filing for Divorce
While in Tennessee you are not required to hire an attorney in order to file for divorce, it is in your best interest for several reasons. Whether you are the one seeking to end the marriage, or you are the one who has been served with divorce paperwork, a divorce lawyer will ensure you understand your rights, as well as your obligations, and serve as a resource throughout the divorce process.
Another reason to hire a lawyer as you face divorce? They will not only help you establish and prove the basis for your divorce, also known as marital fault (e.g. abandonment, adultery, substance abuse), but also draft a divorce agreement, handle communications with your spouse and the court, defend your assets, and strive to settle your divorce out of court. Overall, this keeps the process moving and avoids unnecessary delays.
Child Custody, Support
If you share an underage child or children with your spouse, you know that a divorce will alter your current family dynamic, which involves custody. In Tennessee, child custody includes physical custody (daily living arrangements) and legal custody (health, education, welfare) of the child or children. While each case is unique, a divorce attorney knows your and your spouse’s rights according to Tennessee law, and how the court will make decisions in the best interest of the child(ren).
Then there is the matter of child support. Following a divorce, child support payments provide for the child’s (ren’s) expenses; examples are for food, education, clothing, and other costs related to child rearing. Child support is a requirement either of yourself or your spouse. Whether you need help to financially care for your child(ren) following your divorce, or you are unable to pay the amount the court has set, a divorce lawyer can help.
Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant in the divorce, alimony (or spousal support) is something your divorce lawyer will bring to your attention. Your lawyer will assess which type(s) of alimony you or your spouse might be eligible for and will be able to explain the parameters to you.
Alimony in a divorce settlement is incredibly important, and a divorce lawyer will know how to navigate it regardless of which party they are representing (the plaintiff or defendant). For the spouse who has not been working or earning an income, alimony can make all the difference for starting fresh or maintaining their current standard of living. For the spouse who owes alimony, it is important to present the facts to a judge as he or she considers how much alimony will be awarded.
Unfortunately, even after divorce proceedings are over, it isn’t unusual for arguments or issues to arise with your ex. Changes in child support, a new relationship or marriage, or a move are just a few examples that can lead to complications. Another problem is contempt. Contempt of court occurs when you or your spouse fail to cooperate with or abide by the court-ordered agreement. This can take various forms: harassment, changing the visitation schedule with children, and avoiding paying alimony or child support are but a few examples.
When these things happen, a divorce lawyer will help enforce the previous agreement you made with your ex rather than seek to make a new agreement. A lawyer recognizes that the court will likely need to get involved in order to find a resolution, but that it will be worth your emotional, physical, and financial wellbeing in the long-run.