Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tennessee Divorce Attorney’s

Jason Barnette and Barnette Law Offices, LLC – Tennessee Family Law Attorneys

In many cases, divorce signifies more than just the end of a relationship.  When a couple decides to end their marriage, concerns about child custody, property division, and child and spousal support can create hostility between spouses.  Parties to a divorce can often benefit from the guidance and assistance of experienced lawyers who can help them navigate these and the many additional complex issues that become points of contention during a divorce.  At Barnette Law Offices, LLC our experienced divorce attorneys, serving all of Tennessee, provide the exceptional representation individuals need to protect their legal rights and financial interests.

Grounds for Divorce

The law in Tennessee permits couples to seek a divorce on several possible grounds.  In a no-fault divorce, spouses agree that there are irreconcilable differences that exist that prevent the marriage from continuing.  Alternately, a fault divorce involves claims made by one spouse against the other to justify the dissolution.  The fault-based grounds for divorce include:

  • Adultery
  • Bigamy
  • Habitual use of drugs or alcohol
  • Impotency and sterility
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment
  • Abandonment
  • Separation for more then two years
  • Felony conviction and sentencing

Contested and Uncontested Divorce

In both a fault and no-fault divorce, the terms and conditions of the dissolution can be unanimously agreed upon by both parties.  Or those same terms – and even the divorce, itself – may be challenged.

In a Tennessee uncontested divorce, couples must prepare a written marital dissolution agreement that sets forth adequate provisions for the custody and support of minor children, when applicable, and establishes a fair and equitable division of marital property and assets.

In a contested divorce, where couples are unable to agree on a particular issue such as property division or custody and support arrangements, the court must intervene to settle the disagreement.

Jason Wade Barnette, Esq.and his firm at Barnette Law Offices in Nashville, Tennessee can advise you as to whether you have legitimate grounds for divorce and help you prove your case to the court.

Property Division

Except for that property belonging to a spouse prior to the marriage, or received as a gift or as part of an inheritance during the marriage, couples will need to divide marital property at the time of divorce.  If spouses can agree on an equitable division of property and assets, the court will most likely approve the division.  However, if an agreement cannot be reached, the court will intervene and divide the property according to Tennessee statutes governing property division, taking a number of factors into consideration to ensure the most equitable division of marital property.  These factors include:

  • Length of marriage
  • Financial status of each spouse
  • Each spouse's relative ability to acquire property in the future
  • Contributions to marital property
  • Amount of separate property belonging to each spouse
  • Tax consequences
  • Age, health, skills of each spouse
  • Contributions made by one spouse to the education or earning potential of the other


A couple's accumulated debts will also have to be divided as part of the divorce settlement.  Again, if spouses cannot agree on an equitable division of the collective debt, the court will step in and assign debt obligations to each spouse according to such factors as:

  • Who was responsible for the original debt
  • What was the purpose of incurring the debt
  • Who benefited from the debt proceeds
  • Who will receive the asset connected with the debt upon the division of marital property
  • Who can better afford to pay the debt

Keep in mind, though one spouse may be responsible for a debt that is in both parties' names, in the event of non-payment, the other spouse can be held liable for the unpaid debt.

Child Custody and Support

For couples with dependent children, determining custody and support arrangements can be the most contentious aspect of a divorce.  It is important to have an experienced attorney who can help you reach the most favorable arrangement.  In Tennessee, the primary factor the court takes into consideration when awarding child custody and support is the best interests of the child.  The courts favor joint custody, but when such an arrangement does not serve the best interest of the child, judges are prepared to award custody to the parent that demonstrates his or her commitment to their children.  We at Barnette Law Offices have experience handling child custody and support disputes.  If you are involved in a custody battle or support dispute, we can ensure that your rights are protected, and we will fight to see that you receive a fair and favorable arrangement.   

Spousal Support

Spousal support, or alimony, is intended to be temporary and rehabilitative, providing an economically disadvantaged spouse with the means to improve his or her situation relative to the other spouse.  When determining the amount of support to be awarded, the court will consider:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The earning capacity, needs and obligations, and education and training of each spouse
  • The division of marital property
  • Each spouse's separate property
  • Contributions of each spouse to the other's education, training, or earning power
  • Whether one parent needs to stay at home with the dependent children rather than working

The staff and Jason Wade Barnette can help you arrive at the support arrangement that best serves your needs. 

Legal Separation

Though a legal separation establishes an end to the relationship, it does not sever the legal marriage bonds; couples are still married but live separately.  As in a divorce, couples must divide their property and settle on arrangements for custody of dependent children.  In many cases, couples that choose legal separation end up divorcing and paying for two lawsuits instead of one.  Consult Barnette Law Offices, LLC to find out whether a legal separation is right for you.  


When the court grants an annulment, it is as if the marriage never took place.  Annulments are rare and may be obtained only in limited circumstances, such as when a marriage is illegal or has occurred through fraud or force.  With an annulment, spousal support is not available, and all rights to property are returned to the spouse who owned them originally.  Because the laws governing annulments can be complex, you need an experienced attorney who will help guide you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected.


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