Divorce Lawyers in Clarksville Meeting Your Family Law Needs
Divorce is one of the major issues that family law courts handle. Divorce can be emotionally devastating, and it’s easy during this time to not be thinking about the future and what you may need or want to do once the dust settles. But this can lead some people not to fight for a fair settlement or to agree to a custody arrangement that doesn’t really work. A divorce attorney is an important resource when you are navigating the difficult process of ending a marriage. You can find answers to commonly asked questions we get about divorce below.
When you’re facing divorce, you need experienced legal representation. At the law firm of Hibbeler & Associates, we have a team of experienced divorce lawyers who can help you through the divorce process, from property division to child custody. We offer free consultations to new clients so you can see how we work firsthand before we get started on your case.
What Is the Difference Between an Uncontested Divorce and a Contested Divorce?
Sometimes, going forward with a divorce is a joint decision — but sometimes, it’s not. While the end result is the same, there can be a big difference in the process, timeline, and cost of a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce. Keep reading to learn why.
An uncontested divorce means that both parties are in agreement that a divorce is necessary because they have irreconcilable differences. It’s common in these cases for the parties to work out an agreement on how they want to divide marital property, and the family law court just has to make that agreement legally binding.
While an uncontested divorce is often faster and cheaper than a contested divorce, it’s still important to have a family law attorney representing you throughout the process. A lawyer can ensure that you understand the consequences of any agreement and that you are getting everything you are entitled to in the divorce.
A contested divorce can be one in which one party wants a divorce, but the other party does not. It can also be used to describe a divorce where the parties disagree on key aspects, such as property division or child custody. In a contested divorce, instead of the parties coming to an agreement and asking the courts to ratify that agreement, the court has to make the decisions based on the arguments presented by both parties. For example, if one parent wants primary custody and the other wants joint custody, the judge will hear both sides — as well as evidence and testimony from other witnesses — and make a determination.
Contested divorces can be challenging and can make an already emotional process even harder. Having an attorney means you have a legal representative who can talk to the other party’s legal team and do all of the speaking on your behalf at the hearings.
What Are the Major Components of Divorce?
Understanding the major issues that have to be decided in a divorce can give you an advantage in the family law courts. Knowing what to expect can help you form a strategy and ensure you know what you want out of each factor. While the four issues below won’t affect every divorce, they are a good basis for starting to understand the divorce process.
Having to divide marital property is the one thing all divorces have in common. It doesn’t matter if you have kids or don’t have kids — whatever the court deems as marital property must be legally divided between the two parties. This includes physical property, liquid assets, stocks and investments, and debt. In most cases, the courts are looking for an equitable division of the assets. However, this is not always a 50/50 split. For example, one party may get the house while the other gets more of the liquid assets.
If the marriage resulted in children or the couple had children prior to being married, child custody will be a factor in the divorce. There will be a custody order stating who has physical custody — sometimes referred to as who is the primary residential parent – and legal custody, which involves decision-making power. Child custody can be one of the hardest matters to settle in a divorce, so it’s important to talk to your attorney about what to expect.
Child support will also need to be determined if there are children. The courts will look at both parties’ financial situations and decide if child support should be paid. If so, the judge will decide how much the child support order will be for and who will be paying whom. Child support is determined by a basic formula that can then be adjusted if necessary for extraordinary expenses or unusual circumstances.
In some divorce cases, alimony — also known as spousal support — may be awarded. Alimony can be granted on a temporary or ongoing basis, and the amount depends on many factors. If you think that you might have to pay alimony in your divorce or that you should receive it, make sure to talk to a family law attorney so you know what you are entitled to.
How Does a Prenuptial Agreement or Postnuptial Agreement Affect Divorce?
If you have a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement in place, it can make the divorce process much more efficient and simpler. These agreements are legally binding documents where the parties have premade decisions about what would happen if they were to get a divorce. These agreements usually include instructions for how property is to be divided and whether any spousal support will be paid. As long as the judge agrees that the agreement is legally binding and able to be enforced, the divorce will proceed according to the agreement. Any child custody or child support matters will have to be handled separately.
How Long Does the Divorce Process Take?
How long a divorce takes depends entirely on the specific circumstances of that case. Divorce is a complex legal process, and the family law courts have many issues to make decisions on. In the state of Tennessee, there is also a mandatory waiting period that must take place between the filing of the divorce and the actual hearing. If you don’t have children, the waiting period is 60 days. If you do have children, the waiting period gets bumped up to 90 days. In general, the more legal matters you can come to an agreement on, the quicker the divorce process. If there is a lot of disagreement and the courts have to hear testimony on every issue, it can drag out a divorce for months and even years.
Why Should I Use a Divorce Lawyer?
One of the most important things you can do when it comes to family law matters is to hire a divorce attorney as soon as you are even considering divorce. Many people are surprised at things that happen during child custody disputes and how property is divided, and knowing what you are entitled to and what is a possibility — and what’s not — can help you go into the process with accurate expectations.
The best divorce lawyers don’t just provide legal advice. They can answer questions, advocate for you, encourage you to pursue what you are entitled to, and educate you on what you can expect as you go through the divorce process. Hiring a divorce attorney also means that any and all communication regarding the divorce proceedings between you and your ex goes through your attorney. This can help keep some distance and give you a buffer during this emotional time.
If you’re looking for a divorce attorney in the Clarksville area, the law firm of Hibbeler & Associates can help. Call our office today at 931-236-2711 to find out about our free consultation offer and speak to a member of our legal team. We fight for your rights and help you get what you’re entitled to.