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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

Chattanooga Divorce Law Blog

Choosing a home after divorce

For Tennessee couples going through a marital separation, picking a place to live is an important decision. Divorcing couples must balance emotional, logistical and financial implications to find the right situation.

Some exes may want to continue living in the marital home. When children are involved, the marital home can offer some stability in a time of stressful change. Having familiar neighbors and patterns can also provide comfort during the turmoil. After a divorce, however, that person will be left with the responsibility of upkeep, which includes insurance, repairs and lawn care. Mortgage qualification without the other spouse is also an important issue to consider.

Avoiding custody fights is possible

Divorcing Tennessee couples are not necessarily destined for an ugly courtroom battle. The decision to end a marriage is never easy, and parents may find it challenging to set emotions aside when deciding how to divide time between households. Overcoming the temptation to fight can be the key, however, to keeping children out of a lengthy and expensive legal battle. If parents can work together and focus on the children's best interest, a great deal of time, acrimony and money can be saved.

In most jurisdictions, the starting place for custody discussions is an equal 50/50 split of time between parents. From that point, adjustments should be made to account for the specific situations of everyone involved. As with most things, honest communication between the parents is critical, and avoiding the temptation to use custody negotiation as a vehicle to vent about grievances is key to the process. Parents should realistically appraise their commitment and ability to fully participate in parenting activities rather than using parenting time as a weapon. Setting aside emotions is a difficult but necessary part of determining what is in the best interests of children at the center of a marital split.

Divorcing parents need child custody plan

The best interests of their young children should be a top priority for Tennessee parents who are ending their marriages. Sometimes parents who are locked in a battle want what is best for them, unfortunately.

There are two kinds of child custody: legal and physical. The parent who has legal custody is responsible for making decisions concerning such matters as the child's education and religion. In many cases, legal custody is shared by both parents. Physical custody covers which parent the child will live with. Although in the past it was almost always granted to the mother with the father obtaining limited visitation rights, more and more courts around the country are realizing that under most circumstances, children benefit from having liberal access to both parents. Of course, there are exceptions, such as if one parent has been abusive or is habitually impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Putting children first makes divorce easier for parents

When parents in Tennessee decide to divorce, there is often a lot of anger that can disrupt communication. However, it's important for parents to figure out how to set aside anger in order to establish a meaningful dialogue regarding child custody arrangements. There are a number of ways to get past hurt feelings and focus on the children. Below are a few pointers.

Some parents manage to cut through the animosity by treating the post-divorce parenting relationship as a business arrangement with the children being the focus. Even after the divorce is final, the parents are partners in the raising of their children. Keeping this in mind can help nullify the influence of negative emotions on decision making.

TV star settles custody dispute

Tennessee parents going through a divorce often have one primary concern throughout the process, which is protecting their relationship with their children through a supportive child custody agreement. These problems and concerns are shared by celebrities and other well-known names going through a divorce.

Morena Baccarin, the star of the television show "Gotham", has settled an ongoing custody dispute with her former spouse Austin Chick nearly two and a half years after the divorce proceedings began in their case. The custody dispute has dragged out over such a lengthy period that Baccarin has since remarried and given birth to a daughter with her new partner.

How shared parenting is changing custody

Tennessee parents who are getting a divorce might be considering sharing custody of their children. Traditionally, mothers get custody of children, and fathers have visitation rights. This stems from a doctrine that governed child custody decisions for many years and assumed that mothers were better caregivers than fathers. Although replaced by the best interests of the child as the standard for determining child custody, many argue that courts remained biased against fathers since mothers still tend to get custody.

However, there is an increasing trend toward shared custody. More state legislatures are considering bills that make it the default in divorce cases. Studies also support the arrangement as leading to better physical, emotional and behavioral outcomes for children.

How divorce can impact the home sale process

A family home gets put on the market in 61 percent of divorces. Therefore, Tennessee residents who are ending their marriage may face the prospect of having to move at the same time. This can lead to a stressful sale process that may be full of emotion. However, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the impact emotions may have on a sale.

For instance, it may be advisable for one spouse to speak directly to the realtor. This person will also be responsible for relaying information from the realtor back to the other spouse. Having one person communicate with a real estate agent may make it easier to sell the house in a timely manner because the agent can focus more on doing his or her job. It may also prevent personal squabbles from rolling over into the home sale process.

New tax reform may inpact alimony settlements

Future divorcees in Tennessee residents may be impacted by the tax reform bill that passed just before Christmas. After the law goes into effect, an ex who pays alimony may no longer be able to claim a tax deduction for doing so.

It all depends on when the financial support agreement is signed. If a divorce agreement is signed by December 31, 2018, the payee will be able to claim the deduction. If an agreement is signed after January 1, 2019, the payee cannot claim the tax deduction. Divorce experts believe this will lead to tougher negotiations during the divorce process as well as smaller payments to the recipient. The difference could be thousands of dollars.

False abuse allegations and the narcissistic coparent

One big challenge some parents in Tennessee might face after divorce is dealing with a narcissistic coparent. In this situation, a parent should make sure that all custody and visitation rights are documented. In some cases, it might be necessary to get law enforcement involved. Parents should also offer stability and unconditional love for their children who are likely to eventually get old enough to realize the narcissistic parent has lied to them.

One woman thought she had become accustomed to dealing with her narcissistic ex when she received an email from him saying the children did not want to visit her because they were afraid of her. This was typical of his behavior, particularly when there was a court action pending as in this case when she had filed for support for the fifth time. Therefore, she did not initially take it seriously.

Rapper Kodak Black ordered to pay child support

Tennessee music fans may have heard about the child support dispute involving rapper Kodak Black. The star, who has been engaged in a lengthy court battle with a Florida woman, was recently ordered to pay $4,200 per month in child support for his 2-year-old son.

Black had been embroiled in litigation over his finances and child support. His son's mother alleged that he made far more money than he claimed. At one point, she asked the court to jail him for not turning over the financial documents she had requested.

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