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Montgomery County Divorce Law Blog

You can control the cost of your divorce

Getting a divorce is going to cost you some money. There are things you don't want to scrimp on -- like having experienced legal representation. However, how much your divorce ends up costing you largely depends on you and your spouse.

The more time you have to spend in court, the costlier your divorce will be -- not just in money, but in time and stress. If you and your spouse can resolve all or at least most of your issues through negotiation, with the help of your attorneys, you can avoid having to go to court to seek a judge's ruling. That means you save on the number of hours your attorney has to spend preparing to present your case -- and the number of hours you can be billed for.

Adopting a relative's child is special but complex

The idea of adoption can affect many Tennessee residents in different ways. Some people may have known that they always wanted to adopt a child, and others may have realized that it was the most viable option after not being able to have children of their own. You may even fall into a different category in which you realized that you were better suited to raise a child than a relative.

It is not uncommon for people to feel unready to take on the monumental responsibility of raising a child. As a result, some individuals choose to allow a willing family member to adopt the child after birth. While this may seem like the ideal scenario, it is one that can have complications.

Telling your kids about your impending divorce

One of the things that many couples dread the most when they've decided to divorce is breaking the news to their kids. Whether the kids have sensed that this move is coming, or it's a complete shock to them, that conversation with their parents will probably end up being one of the most memorable events of their childhood -- perhaps of their entire life. That's a lot of pressure on parents, so you need to strategize how you're going to approach this conversation.

Of course, how you break the news and how much you tell them will depend in large part on their age.

  • Very young children (up to 5 years old) will need a simple explanation -- probably with an emphasis on where they'll be living and reassurance that they'll still see both parents and that both will continue to love them and take care of them.
  • Kids who are a little older and up to the preteen years (about 6 to 11) will likely have more questions. However, again, straightforward, simple explanations are generally best. Their concerns will likely revolve around how their lives will be impacted and how much they'll see each parent.
  • Preteen and teenage kids (about 12 to 18) will be able to better understand the reasons for a parental breakup. However, that doesn't mean you have to share details with them they don't need to know or that might make them feel differently about a parent. Encourage your kids to share their feelings with you as the divorce process plays out.

Why should unmarried couples get a 'cohabitation agreement?'

Many couples of all ages decide to live together -- either instead of getting married or perhaps as an interim step before determining whether marriage is right for them. If you and your significant other have decided to share a home, you are likely going to be buying things together, sharing household expenses and interweaving your financial lives much as married people do. You may even decide to buy a home together or jointly adopt a pet.

If the relationship ends, you have a lot of things to untangle. This can be made easier by drawing up a legal agreement. These agreements go by different names, but they're often called "cohabitation agreements."

Parental alienation after divorce is not okay

You and your ex don't have to get along all the time. In fact, it is logical to assume that you don't, since you decided you no longer wanted to be married to each other. However, like most Tennessee parents, you want what's best for your children, especially as you all move on in life, after divorce. You went into divorce understanding that you would always have to interact with your former spouse in relation to your children's lives.

Your plan was to cooperate and compromise as much as possible so that your kids' best interests would always be the highest priority. As time goes on, you're becoming more and more frustrated because it seems that your ex is trying to turn your children against you. It definitely might not be your imagination because it's possible that you're dealing with a parental alienation problem.

Should you file for divorce or wait to be served?

When couples decide to divorce, the action must be initiated by one partner and answered by the other. The one who initiates the action is the petitioner or plaintiff and the one who answers it is the respondent or defendant.

Clients frequently want to know whether they should file the petition for divorce or let their partner do so. Are there any strategic advantages to either position?

Tips for conflict-free emails with your co-parent

Many divorced couples determine that they can co-parent most effectively when they avoid in-person and phone conversations with one another. It can become easy to slip into old, destructive patterns of communication. Sometimes, a person's tone of voice can be enough to set their ex off. Texts can also too easily be sent in the heat of anger or leave room for misunderstanding.

Anyway, you've decided to use email to communicate about the kids. This gives you a chance to think about what you're saying, organize your thoughts and review the finished product before you hit "send." Meanwhile, if the recipient is angered by something they read (or think they read), they can set it aside for a short time and look at it again when they're calmer.

Smooth family restructuring is key after divorce

Once your divorce is final, you, your co-parent and your children will still be a family. Your family will, however, have a different structure than in the past. How smoothly you and your former spouse are able to accomplish this restructuring will likely have a significant impact on how well your kids adjust to their "new normal."

One of the biggest changes, of course, will be that your family will now be spread over two households. Even if one of you stays with the kids in the family home, it's still a big adjustment for them to have one parent no longer there. If you need to move the kids, however, it's essential to let them have some say in how their new home is set up -- even if it's just choosing new bedspreads and wall art for their bedrooms.

Do you suspect your spouse of infidelity?

When you got married, you and your spouse likely shared common hopes and dreams for your relationship and your future life together. Perhaps numerous years have passed since then and you have worked together to make some of those dreams come true, such as having children, maybe starting a business or buying your own home. Marriage can be hard work but also a great blessing.

In a perfect world, you and your spouse would continue together in life without any relationship obstacles to stand in your way. In reality, any number of unexpected situations may arise that shake your relationship to its core, such as suspecting that your spouse is cheating on you. Many Tennessee spouses file for divorce in such circumstances, which is why it's always good to know your options ahead of time, as well as how to protect your and your children's best interests.

How can a postnuptial agreement strengthen your marriage?

You and your spouse didn't get a prenuptial agreement before you married. There's still a way to protect your financial future in the event of a divorce. It's called a postnuptial agreement.

Some people are incentivized to get a postnup if they believe they may be headed toward divorce. However, it's typically best to draw one up while things are going well. This can make negotiations a lot easier and more amicable.

The Law Office of Steven C. Girsky
503 Madison St.
Clarksville, TN 37040

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