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Nashville, Tennessee Family Legal Blog

My financial situation changed. What about alimony now?

Tennessee couples who have gone through a divorce will also likely have to deal with alimony payments. However, these payments may be modified in some cases to better reflect your current financial situations. Rogers, Kamm & Shea, attorneys at law, are here to explain more.

Alimony payments are made either through negotiation or the decision of a judge. Regardless of which path you take to get there, the same sort of factors will be examined. How much money are you and your spouse bringing in? Do either of you have any recurrent financial drains to keep in mind, such as chronic medical conditions? Do either of you have secondary support, such as with a second household income?

What matters can you address in a parenting plan?

While many aspects of a Tennessee divorce can prove difficult, you may find that sharing your time with your children is an especially hard part of the process. In addition to missing your children when they are not with you, you also have to learn how to co-parent with your ex, and sometimes, planning ahead can work wonders in terms of improving your co-parenting relationship.

According to Psychology Today, a parenting plan is something that sets guidelines you and your child’s other parent agree to follow when it comes to raising your son or daughter. The information included in a parenting plan can range from general to highly specific and will also vary broadly based on your child’s age, but there are certain aspects of child-rearing and co-parenting that most of them address.

An overview of 2019's new alimony taxes

You may have already heard about the new alimony tax structure on the federal level. Federal taxes have the potential to make a major impact on your finances after divorce. Here is what the new rules could mean for you.

You may want to note that these are all federal laws, and are independent of any type of income tax that Tennessee imposes. Tax burden is by no means the only factor in your spousal support structure, so please make sure you know all the details before you make any type of agreement.

Managing your debt during a divorce

For a couple who makes the tough choice to end their marriage in Tennessee, the thought of splitting up their assets can be challenging. While choosing what assets to give up is a hard thing to do, spouses should also pay close attention to the fact that they must split up their debts as well. In some cases, how debts are assigned may factor into what assets are kept by either spouse or even sold.

When it comes to credit card debt, recommends that as soon as the decision to separate or file for divorce has been made, each person should keep very clear records about all income and expenditures. The more detailed these records can be, the better. It is also wise to close any joint accounts as soon as possible to avoid one spouse racking up more debt that the other person may be at risk for owing on. If closing an account is not possible, people should check into at least putting a freeze on the account so no further charges can be made to it.

Who keeps the pet in a contested divorce?

If you are a devoted pet owner, you will probably go to great lengths to keep your dog or cat with you in the event of a divorce. But what happens when you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse can't reach an agreement about who will keep the pet when the humans split?

It's a bit of a legal sticky wicket. While the rules regarding pet custody continue to evolve, in Tennessee, as well as in most states, pets are considered to be part of the marital property and are not subject to custody determinations by the courts.

How are prenuptial and postnuptial agreements different?

It is often difficult for couples in Tennessee to discuss the topic of a prenuptial agreement before they get married. Even if you and/or your spouse thought it was a good idea, you may have worried about how the other person would react when you brought it up or had concerns that it may endanger the relationship. Needless to say, the window of opportunity to enter into a prenuptial agreement closes at the end of the wedding ceremony. However, if you still think that you and your spouse could benefit by setting parameters for the division of property in the event of a divorce, you have the option of creating a postnuptial agreement.

According to FindLaw, a postnuptial agreement accomplishes many of the same objectives that a prenuptial agreement does by delineating provisions for handling a couple's debts and assets after a divorce. However, that was not always the case. Prior to the 1970s, which is when more states started adopting no-fault divorce laws, postnuptial agreements were generally unenforceable. 

What are the benefits of joint-custody?

There is no question that going through a divorce can be an extremely emotional process, especially when there are children are involved. It is difficult to separate a family, divide property and create a successful parenting plan. In a number of cases, children are placed in the sole-custody of one parent, while the other parent is given visitation rights. However, studies show the ways in which children may benefit when raised in a joint-custody arrangement.

A study published in the March Journal of Family Psychology looked at kids raised in sole-custody, joint-custody and traditional family situations. Researchers found that kids who lived in joint-custody homes had higher self-esteem, fewer emotional and behavioral problems, better school performance and stronger family relationships. Parents who share custody of the children often have a better relationship, which can be less stressful for the kids.

Is alimony an outdated concept?

Alimony, or spousal support, is one of the most common terms spoken about during a divorce, next to child custody and property division. However, the subject of spousal support tends to be contentious and controversial. You and other Tennessee residents may be interested in learning why some people think alimony is outdated, while others say it is still necessary.

According to Money, alimony came into existence when grounds for fault were still necessary to get a divorce. The person considered “at fault” through infidelity, spousal abuse or other factors was penalized by a court order for alimony. As you know, no-fault divorces are the norm today, but many people still consider spousal support to be necessary for the lesser-earning partner after the end of a marriage.

How should I discuss my divorce with others?

If you and your spouse in Tennessee have made the choice to end your marriage, you will soon realize that this decision has an impact beyond just the two of you. Certainly, this is true if you have children together but even your other extended family, neighbors, friends and colleagues will at some point come into the picture. For you, this can be a challenge as you may not know how to field questions or discuss this change in your life. It will be important for you decide how you will talk about your divorce to all of these people.

The Chicago Tribune recommends you decide how you want people to think about your divorce and what you want them to know and then practice your "speech". What you say to people might differ based upon their role in your life. A co-worker may need to know less than what you might share with your child's teacher, for example. 

Prenups are a good investment

If there is one takeaway from the Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos divorce, it's this — sign the prenup. Although the wealthiest couple in the world live in a community property state, at least one website is reporting that the two never signed a prenuptial agreement.

This likely means that the Bezos' fortune — which is an estimated $136 billion — will be halved. The couple married before Bezos founded Amazon, which, over time, turned him into the richest man in the world. When the ink is dry on his divorce decree, that distinction will be lost.

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