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Montgomery County Divorce Law Blog

The question of divorce becomes moot if you were never married

There are plenty of spouses in Tennessee who have spent years together believing they were married, but in fact, they're not really married. It's not so uncommon for spouses to be confused about their marital statuses like this.

In Tennessee, for example, a marriage performed by a minister ordained via certain online websites like Universal Life Church are not legally allowed to perform a marriage ceremony. Those married by these individuals are not actually married under the law.

How divorce impacts your taxes

There are numerous changes to your life you need to make after a divorce, but there is one aspect people tend to overlook: taxes. If you divorced before December 31st of the previous tax year, then you need to change how you fill out your forms

While your divorce attorney will help you get through the separation, you may need to rely on the services of a professional accountant to ensure you do not make any mistakes on your taxes after a divorce. You need to make sure you change your filing status to "single person." However, that is just the beginning. 

The Hague Convention and international child abduction

In the not too distant past, if a foreign parent decided to leave the United States unlawfully with his or her child, the local parent would a very difficult -- if not impossible -- time of getting the child back. These days, the situation is different. We can thank the Hague Convention, an international treaty signed by 79 countries. It establishes guidelines for returning children to their home countries following an unlawful international abduction.

As long as the two countries involved in an international child custody dispute are Hague member nations, the terms of this treaty will apply to the situation. Foreign courts belonging to member nations must honor the child custody orders of the country where the child is considered to be the primary resident.

What are some upsides to a prenuptial agreement?

Last week, we discussed some of the downsides related to prenuptial agreements. This week, we're going to cover the upsides. Indeed, it's precisely because of the numerous benefits associated with premarital agreements that spouses choose to draft and sign these documents.

Here are five of the most important things that spouses can expect to benefit from when taking the time to create a premarital agreement:

  • Protect the inheritance rights of children from previous marriages
  • Keep your business safe from the risk of being divided one day as a result of divorce
  • Protect one spouse from the debts and financial liabilities of the other spouse. In some cases, this could assist two people who otherwise might not be able to get married as a result of one spouse not wanting to assume the financial liabilities of the other.
  • Establish that you will be compensated for giving up a career in order to be a homemaker and help raise the family. Many stay-at-home parents do not realize the income-earning capacity that they are giving up by choosing to stay home with the children.
  • Place limits on the amount of spousal support or alimony that one spouse may be required to pay

Should you date during a divorce?

Divorce is certainly more prominent in some states in others. Tennessee has one of the highest divorce rates in the country, and in 2013, Trousdale County had a staggering divorce rate of nearly 90 percent. 

In addition to all of the legal processes associated with divorce, there are many personal emotions both spouses go through. These emotions can become complicated if one spouse decides to date before the divorce is final. In general, your attorney will advise you not to date anyone until the separation is complete. 

What are the downsides of a prenuptial agreement?

If you're thinking about a prenuptial agreement, you might want to educate yourself, not only on the upsides of signing this kind of document before marriage, but also on the downsides. Ultimately, when it comes to any kind of legal arrangement – including marriage – you should know exactly what you're agreeing to and what kinds of future ramifications it may have on you and your life.

In terms of the "downsides" of a prenuptial agreement, there are several things you should consider:

  • You might have to forfeit your ability to inherit some or all of your spouse's estate in the event of his or her death. Without a prenup, under state inheritance laws, you may have the right to receive at least part of your spouse's estate. Your prenup could eliminate this right to inherit.
  • During the course of your marriage, you might contribute to the growth and success of your husband's or wife's personal or professional business in a nonmonetary way. For example, you could provide ideas, consultations and even entertain his or her clients. Or, you could be the homemaker and take care of the children and home, freeing up your spouse to invest time into his or her business. A prenuptial agreement could erase your ability to receive compensation for these efforts in the event of a divorce.
  • In some cases, prenuptial agreements can create barriers of trust between two marital partners.

How do I change my child custody?

Many parents are happy with being the noncustodial parent and getting to spend every other weekend with their children. Other parents are unsatisfied with these arrangements and would prefer to share physical custody of their child, meaning that their child would live with them part of the time and essentially have two homes. However, once the judge has made the decision, is there any way that you can modify your court orders to become the custodial parent?

Here are two example scenarios under which this could potentially occur:

Talk to biological children prior to adopting another child

Adoption is a great way to give a child a home. Every year in the United States, approximately 135,000 adoptions take place. 

Parents adopt for a number of reasons, and there are many couples out there who want to adopt who already have a biological child. If this is your situation, then you need to carry out this task carefully so that the current child does not feel replaced. Here are the steps to take to ensure a smoother process. 

Tips for surviving the financial aspects of divorce

There are a lot of money-matters that divorcing spouses need to attend to. These financial responsibilities might not have existed prior to the initiation of the divorce process. As such, it is important to familiarize yourself with various tips and tricks for surviving the financial aspects of divorce.

Here are several pieces of advice that will help you stay on track financially during your divorce process.

How should I tell my child about our divorce?

Parents do their best to stay together, often enduring years of toxic relationship drama just for the sake of their children. However, is it really helping your children to grow up in a toxic environment like this? Or, if you're able to "fake it," what kind of example of living a happy life is that setting? If you've finally decided to pull the trigger on your divorce proceedings, here are a few ideas on the best way to tell your children about it.

Deliver the message that both parents love them: Children need to understand that the love of a parent for his or her children is different from the love that a husband and wife have for each other. Tell your children that mommy and daddy will love them forever, no matter what they do and no matter what happens. Let your children know that their living arrangements will change, but the love mom and dad have for them will remain unchanged.

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

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