Why Do I Have to Pay Alimony and Child Support? One Simple Reason

We are often asked why do I have to pay alimony and why do I have to pay child support in Rutherford County divorce and custody cases. The one simple reason? The law requires it!

Child Support

Our Rutherford County Chancery Court and Circuit Court have a clear position that child support is for the benefit of the child.

The local court or your Rutherford County attorney can utilize the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines and accompanying Tennessee Child Support Worksheet to calculate the potential child support which is owed for the benefit of your child or children.

To calculate child support, you have to know four primary things:

  1. The number of overnight days you spend with your child
  2. The amount that each party pays in work-related childcare
  3. The amount of the health insurance premium you pay, if any, for the minor children.
  4. Any recurring monthly medical expenses for the child(ren).

In certain circumstances, you can receive credit for other minor children that live in your home from other relationships. However, this figure is calculated based on the information listed here and ordered by the Court for the benefit of the child or children– and our courts don’t ignore it very often.

Alimony (Spousal Support)

This issue is less straightforward than child support. For alimony, a judge will look at the years of the marriage, the earning capacity of both parties, and many other factors under the law, and may enter an order setting out spousal support.

Typically, to qualify for an award of spousal support in Rutherford County you need to be in a marriage that lasts longer than most short marriages (which courts typically view as less than five to seven years) and you must be able to clearly establish two things:

  1. That one spouse is in need of alimony.
  2. That the other spouse can afford to pay alimony

If the requesting spouse can get over the hurdles then the Court can award alimony to help the spouse in post-divorce life, either for a short time, a long time, or in one lump sum. The end result depends on the judge’s review of the facts and circumstances of your unique case.

If you or someone you know needs to talk about alimony or child support, feel free to contact our experienced Rutherford County Family Lawyers for a free consultation.

Simple Reasons to Think About a Prenup

A prenuptial agreement, often called a “prenup,” is a contract between two people who plan to marry that determines how property is divided if the marriage ends in divorce or death. A prenuptial agreement is a very powerful document.

A properly written prenup can do many things, including, but not limited to: protect separate property owned before the marriage; divide marital property acquired during the marriage; assign debt from before or during the marriage; award certain property to children; protect family heirlooms; and prohibit the payment of alimony upon divorce.

The common thread among the powers of a prenuptial agreement is protection. A prenuptial agreement can protect your interests and goals that you have going into a marriage and ensure that an unsuccessful marriage does not permanently injure you or your family members.

There are several simple reasons that people may benefit from using a prenuptial agreement. These include, but are not limited to, when a person: owns significant amounts of property; has children from a prior marriage; owns an interest in a business; or is tied to significant debt.

The easiest way to think about whether or not you need a prenup is this: is there something in your life you need to protect?

A prenuptial agreement is a very powerful document for anyone who is contemplating marriage. It may be difficult to have the conversation about a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse; however, if the two of you decide to use a prenuptial agreement, the powers and protections at your disposal are many.

If you or someone you know has questions about prenuptial agreements, or any questions about divorce or child custody, feel free to reach out and speak with a lawyer at our office.

Useful Information About the Free Expungement Clinic

The Rutherford and Cannon County Bar Association (RCCBA) will be hosting a Free Expungement Clinic on Saturday, July 30, 2021. Our office wanted to take a minute to share more about this event.

An expungement is the legal process to erase or destroy criminal records. Once a criminal record is expunged, the clerk destroys all record of it.

In Rutherford County Criminal Courts, there are different types of cases that can be expunged:

  • First, cases that have been dismissed can be expunged. Even though the case has been dismissed, that charge may still show on a background check—you have the right to have it expunged!
  • Second, cases that have been retired or diverted can be expunged. These are legal processes through which the prosecutors agree to have the case expunged at some later date, not right away.
  • Third, some convictions may be eligible to be expunged. We are not handling these at the July Expungement Clinic, but we can help guide you through this process even if it can’t be completed that day.

For most cases, the expungement process requires hiring a lawyer or contacting the District Attorney. At this clinic, however, volunteer attorneys will be on hand to assist applicants who may be eligible to have their records expunged.

Expungements are a great asset to our community. They can help people clear up criminal records that may prevent employment, housing, or other advancement opportunities. If you or someone you know needs help with an expungement, never hesitate to reach out. At the least, we can point you in the right direction!

For more information on the 2021 RCCBA Expungement Clinic, you may visit: www.MurfreesboroLawyer.com/expungements.

How To Make Your Voice Heard in Your Divorce

One of the most common questions we are asked in meetings is some variation of will I have a say in the path my divorce takes? or how can I make sure that my voice is heard in my divorce case? The first time I heard this question I was honestly shocked. Now, several years down the road, I am still answering this.

The short answer: Yes! You will absolutely have a say in your own case! And we will help you know the best ways to make sure that it happens.

When you make the choice to separate and divorce a spouse, it is likely the most important thing going on in your life. You are facing not only a divorce, but also dividing assets, assigning debts, dividing retirements, and potentially selling your home.

All of these issues, standing alone, are major life changes. But all of these issues happening at once can be overwhelming without the right support. Here at our office, we offer two simple pieces of advice to ensure that your voice is heard in your divorce case.

Develop a Stable Method of Communication. Every person is different and every law firm is different. At the beginning of your case, find a method of communication that works efficiently for both you and your lawyer. Whether it is phone, email, or carrier pigeon, the most important thing is that you and your lawyer have regular access to the communication method.

When All Else Fails, Set a Meeting. If, for any reason, communication breaks down with your lawyer, make sure to select a lawyer who is open to meeting at any time, at your discretion. We often tell clients that we may be busy when they call in; however, they are always welcome to set a meeting to make sure we are on the same page.

We typically end a conversation with a potential client by telling them this: find an attorney that you are comfortable with, that you believe will understand you, and that you believe will fight for you, and hire that person. As you can tell by the two ways that you can make your voice heard, having a trusted line of communication is a critical component as well.

No one likes being treated like a number on a spreadsheet. Our team of Murfreesboro attorneys spend the time to get to know you, learn what is important to you, and know how to achieve it. If you or someone you know are considering divorce, child custody, child support, or other family law issue give us a call.

Two Practical Reasons Mediation is Required in Family Law Cases

In the Chancery Court and Circuit Court of Rutherford County, there is a requirement that certain types of cases, such as divorces, parenting plans, parenting plan changes, go to Mediation before a Trial.

The main reason that Mediation is required before a divorce case goes to trial is because that’s the law. T.C.A. 36-4-131 very clearly requires all family law cases go to mediation (however, there are certain exceptions to this that you should discuss with your lawyer).

That said, there are also two practical reasons that Mediation is required in Family Law Cases: first, Mediation saves the court calendar for cases that cannot settle; and second, Mediation saves the parties from further emotional and financial expense of trial.

Rutherford County Divorce cases are numerous. Each Divorce Judge handles hundreds of cases. Mediation is necessary for every case because it saves the court calendar for the cases that truly have no chance of agreement. If we had a nickel for every time a client swore to us “this case will never settle so mediation is stupid,” only to have that exact case settle at mediation, we may be rich. Every case is required to give it a shot because every case might settle, and that settlement can save the court some time.

Rutherford County Divorce cases are also expensive. Most attorneys bill these cases by the hour and, by the time you have reached Mediation, there is a significant chance that you would need to pay more money to go to a Divorce Trial and suffer more emotional stress through that Divorce Trial process. Settlement at Mediation has the chance to save all parties further financial damage, and, even more importantly, to spare all the parties from further emotional damage of a court case.

Those are two of the more practical reasons that Mediation is required in Rutherford County Family Law Cases. If you or someone you know are considering divorce, child custody, child support, or other family law issue give us a call at 615-890-1099. Scott Kimberly and Chase Doscher are thoroughly experienced in guiding divorce, parenting plan, and custody clients through the mediation process and are here to answer any questions.