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Nashville, Tennessee Family Legal Blog

Tense custody exchange results in near-stabbing

The hope is that when parents share custody in Nashville, any negative feelings that they might have for each other (or the other's new partners) can be put aside for the good of the kids. Placing distance between feuding former spouses may serve to alleviate some of the tension in their relationship, yet inevitably there will be situations where they must encounter one another (such as in custody exchanges). Such exchanges need not be more than just a cordial exchange that last no longer than a few minutes, yet sadly, there are times when they can devolve into full-blown altercations. 

Such appears to have been what occurred between a mother and the girlfriend of her child's father in Pennsylvania. When the child's mother arrived to pick up her son, an argument allegedly broke out between the two women. As the mother attempted to leave the scene, she claims the other woman began throwing objects at her, one of which struck her new vehicle. This apparently angered her, and she responded by grabbing a knife and chasing after the woman (who took refuge in her own car). When she could not get through the car window with her knife, the child's mother allegedly began stabbing the vehicle's bumper. She eventually left, but was later found by authorities and arrested. 

Appellate court reverses judge's decision in abduction case

In all matters involving child custody (both in Nashville and elsewhere), family courts almost universally default to the standard of what is believed to be in the best interests of the children involved. That aspect may often outweigh the actions of the parents. However, a parent's actions may ultimately have bearing on what a child's best interest may be. If it is believed that they may be acting in a manner that could be potentially harmful to a child, then the court may choose to reflect that opinion in its ruling. 

Such was the decision handed down by a federal appeals court in Florida recently after reviewing the details of a case involving the international abduction of two young boys. The boys currently live in Florida with their mother, who is an American citizen. Their father, who is from Panama, is fighting to have them returned to his custody. This most recent incident actually marks the second time the mother has abducted the boys from Panama, with the first occurring in 2009. She was later ordered to return the boys to Panama, which she did, only to once again return with them to the U.S. in 2014. 

You can approach the topic of a prenuptial with confidence

Your upcoming marriage in Tennessee is quickly approaching and you have started to spend some time thinking about the prospect of signing a prenuptial with your partner. However, you are concerned that bringing up such a sensitive topic will create tension and ruin the trust you have worked so hard to build with your soon-to-be spouse. At Rogers, Kamm & Shea Attorneys at Law, we have helped many people to articulate and finalize the terms of their prenuptial agreement. 

While you are certainly justified in your concerns about creating a ripple, approaching the topic in the right manner, with the right intentions and in an environment that is both appropriate for the discussion and comfortable, you can increase your chances of having a positive and healthy discussion that is void of heated arguments. According to Business Insider, avoid sugar coating your concerns and be forthright in explaining the fears that you have. Discuss your desire that both of you remain financially secure even if the relationship eventually ends. 

Artists, your creations are subject to division in divorce

Many couples with significant assets dread divorce because that means splitting up the valuable treasures they collected during their marriages. For some divorcing spouses, this could mean dividing an art collection.

But you don't have to have a Picasso or a Warhol hanging over the sofa to own valuable artworks. In fact, if one of the spouses is an artist, these creations may all need to be professionally valuated right along with more traditional paintings from other artists.

Understanding the importance of the valuation date

Married couples in Nashville that elect to seek a divorce will often begin to look forward to certain dates. These may include the date that their divorce proceedings officially begin, the date their divorce is finalized, or the date that the stipulations of their divorce settlement officially begin. One important date that is often overlooked, however, is the valuation date of their marital assets. 

Why would this date be important? Tennessee's laws mandate that marital property be divided up fairly and equitably between spouses. In some instances, the "bad blood" that continues to exist between a divorcing couple might prompt one to intentionally devalue a marital asset in order to impact their spouse's interest in it. In states where the valuation date in a divorce is the date a couple separates, there is no incentive to do this. Yet Section 36-4-121 of Tennessee's Domestic Relations Code shows that the states sets the valuation date in a divorce case as close to the date on which the order detailing marital property is submitted as possible. 

What are the different types of alimony in Tennessee?

One of your first thoughts after separating from your spouse in Nashville is whether or not you may be entitled to alimony. If they were the primary wage-earner in your home, then it may seem only natural that you be supported in some way if you no longer have that income to rely on. The awarding of alimony, however, is not automatic, nor is based simply on the fact that your ex-spouse earned more than you do. Rather, the court's main concern is that you be in a position to enjoy a standard of living similar to what you did while married once your divorce is finalized. 

If your professional skills allow you to immediately secure gainful employment (or you have already moved on into another supportive relationship), then the matter of alimony may not even be considered. Yet if the court does choose to award you alimony, then it will assign one of four different types. According to Section 36-5-121 of Tennessee's Domestic Relations Code, these are: 

  • Rehabilitative alimony
  • Transitional alimony
  • Alimony in futuro
  • Alimony in solido 

What cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement?

No Tennessee couple enters into a marriage with the intent of divorcing, but because the future is uncertain, it may be best for you and your future spouse to protect your own interests with a prenuptial agreement in the event that things do not work out the way you hope they do.

However, a prenuptial agreement cannot prepare for every possible eventuality. According to FindLaw, a valid prenuptial agreement cannot contain certain provisions. 

Will alimony be included in your divorce settlement?

For many people, divorce means wiping the slate clean and starting over. Unfortunately, these same people rush through their divorces and do not take the time to budget what they need in terms of the divorce settlement.

For example, some people simply want to finish their divorce as fast a possible and will agree to everything their spouse want without giving much thought to their finances.

Why do I need a postnup to stay home with my kids?

No longer are parents in Tennessee expected to quit their jobs when they become parents. In fact, it almost seems expected that they will not do so and will instead utilize nannies, day care centers or relatives to help them care for their children while they continue their careers. Parents who do make the choice to quit their jobs and stay home to raise their children get to be there for special moments of their kids' lives, but they should also be wise about protecting themselves financially.

As explained by Forbes, moms or dads who have been out of the workforce for several years and then find themselves facing a divorce could be in for quite a rude awakening. Courts today expect each spouse to be self-sufficient and do not necessarily regard stay-at-home parenting as a job or career akin to any other. This may result in a lower alimony settlement than a person might have expected.

Reasons women might still need alimony in the modern world

Women’s rights have made impressive strides forward in the past few decades. It’s no longer considered out of the norm for a woman to have a college education and a career. It’s also still normal for women to choose to stay at home and raise their children, then pick up their careers later. Some women do it all. However, income disparities and hardships still persist, despite the advances women have had. At the law office of Rogers, Kamm & Shea, we understand that women can have it especially rough after a divorce. You and other Tennessee women might need to receive alimony for numerous reasons.

According to Forbes, women are more likely than men to suffer financial hardships after a divorce. The following common scenarios may explain it to you:

  • You might have worked in an advanced career during your entire marriage, but you earn less than men in the same field.
  • You may have stayed home to take care of the children while they were young but discovered your job skills were outdated when you were ready to return to work.
  • You might have put off your college education while your husband received his education and built his career.
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