Child Support is No Laughing Matter When it Comes to Divorce

Each state has their own laws when matters revolve around child support. Knowing the exact payment can weigh on a few different factors, so it is important to consult with a local child support attorney on these laws.

Some general factors include both parent’s wages and income from all sources along with the number of kids within a family.

Other areas of concern circle around the average amount of child care costs, health care costs, benefits or even costs associated with a previous divorce.

It’s important to keep in mind that child support is key to a child’s well-being. With this condition, lower costs are a concern and hiring a lawyer to leverage payments can go a long way for both parties.

For someone to lower a payment, they must show a substantial change in circumstances, which means the individual’s circumstances have changed since the initial order on child support. This may include situations that relate to health concerns of a parent or a change in employment to name a few.

With all of this in mind, how much child support each parent pays can differ significantly. Nonetheless, the relevancy of a lawyer in the matter is vital in all accounts.

To estimate what your child support payment may be, you can use the Tennessee Child Support Worksheet, which can be found here.

For other areas of family law in Murfreesboro, feel free to contact Joe Brandon & Scott Kimberly, Attorneys at Law at 615-890-2399.

Tennessee Adopts Two New DUI Laws in 2014

Driving under the influence of alcohol is serious business in Tennessee. Not only are those who are behind the wheel affected. Their families are often affected as well because individuals can serve significant time in jail for DUI offenses.

With this in mind, legal representation is key when it comes to DUI matters, as there are several offenses for which people can be charged.

DUI offenses range from Violation of Implied Consent and Refusal to Submit to Blood Alcohol Information, which are misdemeanors, to four-time repeat offenders, whose conviction would be considered a Class E Felony and may contain up to one year of jail time.

More serious DUI offenses also include Child Endangerment, Vehicular Homicide, and Aggravated Vehicular Assault, all of which may occur while driving intoxicated.

In the state of Tennessee, two new laws were adopted this summer that involve the aforementioned topics.

Amelia’s Law
The first new DUI law in Tennessee is named after Maryville’s Amelia Keown, who was killed in a collision by a repeat DUI offender. Under this law, it is possible for any drug/alcohol offender to be monitored daily with a transdermal monitoring device.

DUI Recidivism Reduction Act
The second new DUI law in Tennessee gives the court power to sentence second and third time DUI offenders to substance abuse treatment after serving a designated period of time in jail. This law could ease the overcrowding in jails as drunk drivers are sometimes grouped in the “non-violent” class.

While there are many scenarios that pertain to DUI law, the one constant that remains the same is that sound representation is crucial to all parties involved in a DUI case.

Divorce and Legal Separation: Finding Correct Lawyer is a Vital Element

In today’s time, divorce is a common threat to marriage. While reasons and grounds may vary, it remains true that it happens every day.

Many studies claim the divorce rate in the United States is around 50%. In fact, according to the website, the United States ranks as the nation with the sixth highest divorce rate in the world.

According to Enrichment Journal, the following is a breakdown of divorce rates based on the number of marriages. With these numbers, it can be said that roughly 40%-50% of marriages may end in legal separation.

  • The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
  • The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
  • The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%

With most separation situations in Tennessee, it is in the best interest of the spouses to find the correct lawyer. For an uncontested, agreed divorce, there are a few basic requirements and criteria to keep in mind.

Residency. One of the first requirements of an agreed divorce is a six-month Tennessee residency. To comply, both spouses should have lived in Tennessee for six months at the time of filing. There are other ways to have residency, but this is the main one.

Property Division. Another requirement involves assets. In short, the spouses need to agree on property division. If the spouses share real estate or the spouses are part of a business structure, an agreed divorce may not be the best route. That being said, the spouses should have a clear-cut strategy on how marital property will be divided.

Signed Agreement. One of the final requirements, as in most legal binding matters, is a signed agreement must be fulfilled. With no objections and once signed, this signed agreement becomes the cornerstone of the Final Order of Divorce.

Alimony. Alimony is another item to examine when it comes to agreed divorce. If both parties are not in agreement on alimony, then the divorce may be changed from “uncontested” to “contested” rather quickly.

Remember that finding the right lawyer is a critical part of legal separation and divorce. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our office.

Do You Need Your Child Support Changed?

I am often asked by parents paying child support or parents receiving child support: “if something has changed since my child support payment was calculated, how can I get my child support amount changed?”

In short, you have to file a Petition with the Court to modify your child support payment— and you may want to act quickly! While Courts have the authority to modify a child support amount, they can only modify that amount back to the date that a Petition is filed. They can’t do anything about a support amount that has already become due.

Consider the following:

Jack owes Jill $500 per month in child support. In January, Jack finds out he is entitled to a modification. In March, Jack files a Petition to Modify Child Support. In June, the Court enters a new child support order. Because a child support order may only be retroactively applied to the date that a Petition is filed, Jack is entitled to a retroactive modification from March forward; however, because he did not file until March, Jack will not receive a modification for January or February!

The one thing that you should take away from this post is that if you want to modify an existing child support order, you should act quickly! Every month that you let pass without filing a Petition is one more month that a potentially inaccurate award becomes permanently due.

The attorneys at our office have handled dozens of child support modifications. If you think that you may be entitled to a child support modification, give our office a call to discuss your case. Either of the attorneys at our office will meet with your personally, discuss the facts of you case, and explain the law surrounding modifications.

If you or anyone you know need assistance with a child support case, give our office an opportunity to help.


What Should I Do After a Car Accident in Tennessee?

If you are in an automobile accident and it wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to compensation for any injuries, bills, etc. that may accrue during your recovery, as well as compensation for any pain and suffering that you may endure. The basis of an automobile accident lawsuit lies in the legal theory of “negligence.” There are four elements of a negligence claim: (1) there must be a duty of care to act in a certain manner; (2) an individual must breach that duty in some way; (3) the breach must cause some injury; and (4) the injured individual must suffer damages as a result. Let’s use the following hypothetical to demonstrate a negligence claim:

Suzy Homemaker is driving her minivan down the interstate just outside of town. Suzy comes to a stop at a stop sign. Looking in her rear view mirror, she notices that a red sports car is bearing down on her vehicle at a dangerous rate. The driver of the sports car looks up from his phone just in time to slam on his brakes, but it’s too late. The sports car crashes into Suzy’s vehicle, throwing her violently about the interior of the car.

The Duty of Care
A duty of care is the legal obligation owed by one person to another to conform to a reasonable person standard of care for the protection against unreasonable risks of harm. On the road, all drivers owe other drivers the duty to drive safely and obey all traffic laws and regulations. Therefore, drivers are expected to follow traffic laws, maintain control of their vehicles, and properly use all vehicle equipment.

Rodney “Hot Rod” Stevens is taking his new Mustang for a ride down the interstate. When he merges onto the interstate, he notices a high volume of traffic around him. Whether Hot Rod knows it or not, he owes a duty of care to every other driver on the road to drive safely and to follow the rules of the road.

To breach the duty of care simply means to fail to act in the manner required by that duty. On the road, a driver breaches the duty of care owed to other drivers when he fails to drive safely or fails to follow the rules of the road, among other things. Examples of drivers breaching the duty of care owed to other drivers include: running a red light; speeding; failing to maintain a lane of travel; and driving recklessly. When a driver acts in this manner, he fails to live up to his duty of care and has therefore breached that duty. However, simply breaching a duty of care is not enough to create an action in negligence.

Hot Rod reaches the outskirts of town and traffic thins out. When he notices no other drivers around, he puts his pedal to the metal,  reaching about ninety miles per hour. At this point, Hot Rod has most likely breached his duty of care to follow the rules of the road. However, no one else is around, so the remaining elements of a negligence claim have not been satisfied… yet.

To establish negligence, a breach of a duty of care must cause some kind of damages. There are two key types of causation: (1) actual causation,  i.e., the injury would not have occurred but for the breach; and (2) proximate causation, i.e., the injury must be the natural and direct consequence of the breach. If the injury would not have occurred without the breach and the injury is a natural consequence of the breach, then the injury is most likely caused by the breach.

Hot Rod is still cruising on the outskirts of town. As he reaches the peak of a hill, he looks down at his cell phone. When he looks up, he sees a minivan stopped at a stop sign. He slams on the brakes, but can’t stop his vehicle in time, crashing into the minivan. If the driver of the minivan suffers any injuries as a result of the collision, those injuries are most likely caused by Hot Rod breaching his duty of care. The collision is the actual cause of the injuries, i.e., the injuries would not have occurred without the collision, and the collision is the proximate cause of the injuries, i.e., the injuries are a natural consequence of a violent collision.

As mentioned above, any breach of a duty of care must cause some kind of damages. There are several different types of damages; however, the two main categories of damages are economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include those damages that can be measured by monetary value, such as medical bills and repair bills. Non-economic damages include those damages that cannot be measured by monetary value, such as emotional pain, psychological damage, and suffering. A victim in a car accident may be entitled to compensation for both types of damages.

Suzy Homemaker suffers from a laceration on her forehead as a result of the collision. Her minivan is also totaled. Suzy treats at the local emergency room and has her car repaired. However, she suffers nightmares as a result of the collision. Suzy’s medical bills and repair bills are an example of economic damages. Her nightmares and emotional suffering are an example of non-economic damages. Suzy may be entitled to compensation for both types of damages.

Hopefully you now understand why an individual who gets in a car accident through no fault of their own may be entitled to recover compensation for their injuries, bills, etc. The bottom line is that every driver on the road owes every other driver a duty of care to drive in a safe and reasonable manner. If one driver breaches that duty and causes injuries to another driver, then he has acted negligently and may have to compensate the innocent driver for his negligent behavior.