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Knoxville Tennessee Divorce Law Blog

How will your 401(k) be divided in the divorce?

If you are facing divorce, you are probably not looking forward to the property division process. One of the items that may be concerning to you is your 401(k).

Tennessee is an equitable division state, which means that assets like your retirement accounts are subject to division that is as fair as possible, but not necessarily split down the middle.

Legal separation is an option in Tennessee

Many Knoxville, Tennessee, residents who live in troubled marriages may recognize that they need to live separately from their spouses, perhaps even for their own protection. However, they may have moral or religious reasons not to divorce their spouses outright.

Other people may wish to remain legally married for financial reasons, while still others may just not be ready to deal with the idea of a divorce on an emotional level.

Alimony basics and why it is important

Alimony can be crucial for one divorcing spouse, however, it may also be something the other spouse objects to paying. Alimony is a payment made by one former spouse to the other. It is intended to offset any negative economic impact associated with the divorce.

There are circumstances when one spouse may have remained at home to care for the household or children rather than pursuing a career or may have supported or contributed to the development and advancement of the other spouse's career while their career aspirations may have suffered. Alimony is intended to help the non-waging earning or lower-wage earning spouse and may be awarded permanently or to help them transition.

What is the best interests of the child standard?

If you are facing concerns and challenges related to child custody, you may have heard the best interests of the child standard and wondered what it refers to. The best interests of the child refers to determining what child custody and visitation arrangement will be best for the child's emotional well-being, safety, development and overall happiness.

What is in the best interests of the child is the guiding consideration and focus of all child custody decisions. Though what is in the best interests of the child is the standard the family law court will use to determine the child custody arrangement that is best for the child, it is a consideration that parents should always take into account when negotiating child custody arrangements and agreements. In general, child custody arrangements that involve both parents are considered to be best for the child.

Knowing what to expect during a gray divorce

Divorce can be challenging at any stage in life but may be especially challenging during what are referred to as "gray years" for those divorcing over the age of fifty. Knowing what to expect from a gray divorce can be useful to help prepare divorcing couples for the process. According to one study, the divorce rate for couples over fifty doubled from 1990 to 2010 which means more couples may be struggling to cope with the impact of a gray divorce.

During a senior divorce, couples should be aware that it is not uncommon for alimony, sometimes referred to as spousal support, to be granted in circumstances of long-term marriages and that it may be granted for life. While alimony can generally be awarded to help a lower-wage earning or non-wage earning spouse get back on their feet, in circumstances of a long-term marriage it may be different. In addition, couples divorcing later in life should be prepared that their retirement may be cut in half during the property division process.

Can a prenup waive alimony rights?

Divorce is a naturally complicated process. However, it can be much simpler if both parties willingly agree to sign a prenuptial agreement prior to the marriage. In the past, it was mostly wealthy people who would utilize prenups. However, attorneys have seen a gradual increase in the prevalence of prenups since 2013. 

There are many things you can cover in a prenup, but there is a lot the law will forbid you from including. Although many states have laws against including anything about alimony in a prenup, Tennessee allows married couples to waive rights to alimony. There are several provisions that must be present for an alimony waiver to be enforceable. 

How the property division process works during divorce

Property division can be an especially challenging part of any divorce and can grow particularly acrimonious in circumstances of a high asset divorce. In addition, property division can be complex. In Tennessee, equitable property division rules are followed which means that property will be divided fairly but not necessarily in half so it is helpful for divorcing couples to have a good handle on the process and prioritize their property division interests.

One of the goals of the divorce process is that both spouses are in a positive financial position moving forward. To that end, it is useful for them to understand the property division process and also to understand the implications of property division such as the tax implications, for example. There are two broad categories of property involved in the property division process including marital property and separate property that divorcing couples should take into account. Marital property is subject to division.

When is alimony awarded in a divorce?

Alimony is an important concern in any divorce and can have an impact on the future of both parties following the divorce. As a result, divorcing couples in Tennessee may have a variety of understandable questions concerning alimony and when and how it is awarded. Additionally, they may wonder how to anticipate the amount of any alimony award and the duration of an alimony award.

Alimony is intended to offset any unfair financial impact of the divorce by compensating a lower wage-earning or non-waging earning spouse with alimony payments. Alimony helps the lower-wage earning or non-wage earning spouse continue in the standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage or enable them to develop the job skills they need to become financially self-sufficient after a period of time when they may have remained in the home to take care of the family or support the working spouse.

The basics of child custody in Tennessee

Child custody laws are important for many families to understand and be familiar with. Oftentimes the more families understand about what family law resources are available and how they can help them, the better position they are in to develop child custody arrangements that are in the best interests of the child and work best for their family.

Child custody laws are largely consistent from state to state but there are some differences. As it true in all child custody situations, regardless of the state or locale, what is in the best interests of the child is the guiding consideration. A variety of factors are taken into account to determine what is in the best interests of the child. In Tennessee, the child's wishes can also be considered when determining what child custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child and works bests for the family. Joint custody is also a possibility in Tennessee.

Tips for couples going through a grey divorce

Because the divorce rate for couples over 50 has doubled since the 1990s, a greater number of older Americans are experiencing divorce which can have a particularly negative impact on retirement plans. During 2015, 10 out of every 1,000 married individuals divorced and the number of grey divorces, or divorces over 50, was higher among those that were remarried.

As a result, it is important for couples going through a senior divorce to be familiar with the divorce process. When divorce takes place later in life, it can be more challenging to recover financially from the divorce. Property division is an important part of the divorce process for couples to understand which involves the splitting of assets and can double expenses which is why it can be a challenge for couples, especially those going through a grey divorce.

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The Law Office of Robert M. Asbury
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Knoxville, TN 37919

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