Divorced parents with their son visiting lawyer. Concept of child support

Common Misconceptions About Divorce & Family Law

Brazil Clark Law Nov. 3, 2021

Legal problems involving your family are often highly sensitive, emotional, and influential to different aspects of your life, including your assets, children, finances, and future relationships. When an issue, such as a divorce or child custody dispute, threatens your family's future, seeking detailed legal guidance is crucial to make intelligent decisions and avoid irrevocable mistakes.

Attorney Frank Brazil is devoted to offering outstanding legal services and reliable advocacy to Tennessee families in divorce and family law-related matters. He is available to discuss your unique situation and explore your different legal options. As an experienced Tennessee family law attorney, he can fight diligently to protect your rights and your family's best interests. Brazil Clark, PLLC is proud to serve clients across Nashville and Rutherford County, Tennessee.

Divorce & Family Law in Tennessee: Common Misconceptions

Filing for divorce offers a way to end a marriage legally. Unfortunately, a lot of misleading information and false assumptions surround the actual divorce process in Tennessee. With heightened emotions involved, understanding the laws affecting your unique situation and being able to differentiate between facts and myths can help make the entire process feel more manageable.

Attorney Frank Brazil is here to dispel some of the most common misconceptions in an effort to help avoid extended divorce proceedings, mitigate unnecessary disputes, and help make the transition smoother. Here are some common misconceptions about divorce and family law in Tennessee and what makes them wrong:

Misconception #1: If my spouse doesn't pay child support, I can withhold visitation.

This is a false assumption that usually leads to additional consequences for any spouse trying to block visitation. Divorcing spouses must understand that child support is different from a visitation schedule. Under Tennessee laws, the custodial parent has no right to withhold visitation. Rather, they can take necessary legal action to enforce child support payments and punish the defaulting non-custodial parent.

Misconception #2: If adultery was involved, the other spouse gets everything.

Adultery is a fault-based ground for divorce in Tennessee. Infidelity may directly impact several aspects of divorce, but this doesn't mean the other spouse will get everything. If an adulterous spouse wasted a significant part of the couple's finances and marital assets on funding trips, vacations, and gifts for their secret lover, this will be considered during the marital property distribution and the innocent spouse may be favored.

Misconception #3: The mother is always awarded primary custody of the children.

Trends in child custody awards over the years indicate that mothers are often awarded primary custody. However, this trend has continued to decline. During divorce proceedings, Tennessee family courts believe that the involvement of both parents is crucial for the child's well-being and development. Hence, the court may lean towards joint custody and equal parenting time. This is to help encourage regular contact between both parents and their children.

Misconception #4: You must divorce in the state you originally were married in.

You do not have to get divorced in the state you originally were married in. In order to file for divorce in Tennessee, the filing spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months before filing. However, if either of you is in the military and stationed in Tennessee, but you have another state's permanent residency, the Tennessee court can permit you to file for divorce provided that you have lived in the state for at least a year prior to filing.

Misconception #5: Alimony is a required element of divorce.

Spousal support or alimony is not awarded in all divorce cases. Under Tennessee laws, spousal support will only be awarded depending on the financial resources and income of each spouse. The court will consider the following factors to determine the type, amount, and duration of alimony:

  • The duration of the marriage

  • The earning capacity, obligations, needs, and financial resources of each spouse

  • Each spouse's education and training

  • Each spouse's ability to obtain the education and training required to find employment and increase earning capacity or become self-supporting

  • The age, physical, and mental condition of each spouse

  • The separate assets available to each spouse

  • Whether either spouse is the custodial parent of a child whose circumstances make it difficult to obtain employment outside of the home

  • Any other factor that the court finds relevant

Misconception #6: All of our assets will be divided evenly.

Tennessee is an equitable distribution state. This means that all marital assets and debts must be divided equitably – fairly, justly, and reasonably – between the spouses. However, this doesn't mean that all marital property will be divided evenly or equally. The courts will consider the following factors to determine equitable distribution:

  • The length of the marriage

  • The age, physical and mental health, vocational skills, employability, earning capacity, estate, financial liabilities, and financial needs of each spouse

  • The tangible or intangible contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse

  • The assets and liabilities available to each spouse

  • Whether the custodial parent will benefit from the marital home

  • The relative ability of each party for future acquisitions of capital assets and income

  • The estate of each party at the time of the marriage

  • The value of the separate property of each

  • The tax consequences of asset division

  • The amount of Social Security benefits available to each spouse

  • Any other factors considered relevant by the court to achieve an equitable and fair distribution

A knowledgeable divorce attorney can enlighten you about the Tennessee divorce process and walk you through your available options.

How Brazil Clark, PLLC Can Help

According to statistics from the Tennessee Department of Health, there were 23,804 divorces in the state in 2019. Filing for divorce in Tennessee can involve a lot of complicated procedures. Trying to negotiate a divorce settlement with your estranged spouse, dividing marital property, or establishing spousal support or a parenting plan can make the whole process more overwhelming. Consulting with an unbiased third party, such as an experienced divorce attorney, can help you understand the divorce laws affecting your unique situation and explore your possible legal options.

Attorney Frank Brazil is committed to providing experienced legal guidance and reliable advocacy to individuals and families in the legal matters of divorce. As your legal counsel, he will evaluate every detail of your case and help you view things from a logical perspective. Using his extensive legal understanding, Attorney Frank Brazil will work diligently with all parties involved to negotiate a fair divorce settlement and help settle relationship differences quickly and peacefully.

If you are thinking about filing for divorce and need legal assistance, contact Brazil Clark, PLLC today to schedule a one-on-one consultation with an experienced family law attorney. Attorney Frank Brazil can offer you the comprehensive legal counsel and genuine support you need to pursue the favorable outcomes you deserve. The firm is proud to serve clients across Nashville and Rutherford County, Tennessee.