In Tennessee all divorces granted by the court on either “irreconcilable differences” or upon one of the “fault grounds”. A divorce on irreconcilable differences may be granted after the passage of 90 days from the date of the filing of the Complaint for Divorce, provided the parties have entered into a written Marital Dissolution Agreement providing for the fair and equitable division of the parties’ assets and debts. If there are minor children, a Permanent Parenting Plan that
complies with the law of the State of Tennessee and child support guidelines, is required that provides for the care, support and maintenance of the minor children. If the parties cannot agree on the issues of child custody, child support, spousal support, child visitation, division of marital property, or any other issue, the court will require the parties to enter into mediation. If the parties still cannot come to an agreement, the case will be tried in court by the judge.

Child Custody
At the trial of a divorce case, grounds must be proven or defended. The Court must determine which parent should be the primary residential parent based on the best interest of the minor child. The factors taken into consideration include age, mental health, education, job commitment of the parties, love and affection shown towards the child, and which parent has been the primary care giver.

Child Support
In Tennessee, Child Support is determined using a formula that considers such factors as the incomes of both parties and the amount of parenting time the child spends with each parent.

Need and ability to pay are the primary considerations in the granting or denying of spousal support and alimony. Also taken into consideration in the granting of alimony is the length of the marriage, the size of the estates of each party, and to some extent, the fault involved in the grounds for divorce. In the State of Tennessee, alimony can be grouped into four main categories.

Rehabilitative Alimony
To be rehabilitated means to achieve, with reasonable effort, an earning capacity that will permit the economically disadvantaged spouse’s standard of living after the divorce to be reasonably comparable to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, or to the post-divorce standard of living expected to be available to the other spouse, considering the relevant statutory factors and the equities between the parties. TCA 36-5-121

Transitional Alimony
Transitional alimony means a sum of money payable by one (1) party to, or on behalf of, the other party for a determinate period of time. TCA 36-5-121

Alimony in Solido
Alimony in solido, also known as lump sum alimony, is a form of long term support, the total amount of which is calculable on the date the decree is entered, but which is not designated as transitional alimony. TCA 36-5-121

Alimony in Futuro
Alimony in futuro, also known as periodic alimony, is a payment of support and maintenance on a long term basis or until death or remarriage of the recipient. TCA 36-5-121

For more detailed information regarding Alimony and Child Support, refer to Tennessee Code Annotated 36-5-121, Decree for support of spouse or to the web site of the State of Tennessee and it’s section on Alimony & Child Support: http://www.state.tn.us/tccy/tnchild/36/36-5-121.htm

Division of Property
Under divorce law in Tennessee, all assets are either separate, marital, or mixed. Separate assets are those things and properties belonging to a person before marriage or received as a gift or inherited during the marriage. Separate property is awarded to that party. All other property that is acquired by the parties, jointly during the marriage is usually considered joint property regardless of whether or not the property is held in one of the parties’ name or titled in the name of both husband or wife. One spouse does have an interest in the other spouse’s business. Businesses will normally be evaluated, and the parties’ respective interest in the business will be divided. The principal rule is that all marital property is to be divided fairly and equitably, which does not always mean a 50/50 division.

Marital Debt
Marital debt is much like marital property. The determination has to first be made as to whether or not the debt is separate or marital, and if marital, it is to be divided fairly and equitably. Just as with marital property, the fair and equitable division of debt must be made “without regard to fault”.

Divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences of a person’s life. It can be emotionally stressful, financially taxing, and spiritually draining. At Vaughn & Hall, we understand that, and are committed to protecting our clients during this challenging time.

A thorough discussion of divorce law and related issues is beyond the scope of a web site. Vaughn and Hall, Attorneys have more than 34 years of experience representing clients in some of the toughest divorces in the tri-county area.

Pre-Marital Agreement
A pre-marital agreement is also referred to as a pre-nuptial agreement or ante-nuptial agreement. It is a written contract that is entered into by persons before they marry which defines the property rights of each spouse. These agreements are enforceable in Tennessee.

A pre-marital agreement may be used to limit a spouse’s recovery in the event of divorce. It can also protect against paying alimony, and can define the rights of inheritance of a surviving spouse upon the death of the other spouse. Ante-nuptial or pre-nuptial agreements are usually employed by parties who are entering into a second marriage, and wish to protect their estates in the event of divorce or death. By means of the pre-marital agreement, the inheritance rights of children or grandchildren from a prior marriage can be protected.