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Montgomery County Divorce Law Blog

Can I modify my child support payments?

If a Tennessee family law court ordered you to pay child support each month, you will need to pay this money exactly in accordance with your court orders. Failure to pay your child support obligations on time could result in serious repercussions -- like wage garnishment and even jail time -- but what if you lose your job or get sick and can't make your payments anymore?

Under certain circumstances, you might be able to file an application to modify your child support. If successful, the modification could be temporary or permanent, depending on the nature of your change in circumstances. Here are a few of the most common reasons for a judge to grant a child support modification request:

  • A loss of job resulting in temporary unemployment could warrant a judge to award you a temporary reduction in child support obligations.
  • Needing to relocate to another state, country or city might result in a change in your financial circumstances, which -- in some situations -- would be sufficient for a judge to grant a modification in child support.
  • As your children age, their financial needs could change, and they might require more or less child support.
  • If your ex-spouse's financial circumstances change significantly enough, this could warrant a change in child support.
  • A serious medical condition resulting in your inability to work might be sufficient grounds for a child support modification.

Bigamy and grounds for divorce

In Tennessee, most people know that they can only legally marry one person at a time. In other words, one must go through a divorce from a current spouse before tying the knot with another.

But, there are times when a person believes him or herself to be the subject of a successful divorce filing when tying that second knot. Nonetheless, that person may find that there are now grounds for the other, first spouse to file for divorce on the basis of fault. There may also be criminal repercussions.

3 ways to emotionally prepare yourself for divorce

If your marriage is in trouble, you may be coming to the decision that you should leave. Deciding to get a divorce is a monumental decision that comes with a lot of consequences. It can be better for you in the end, but the proceedings are often overwhelmingly emotional. 

So, are you ready to end your marriage? Before you officially file for divorce, here are some techniques to emotionally prepare yourself. 

Property division: What if I owned my home before marriage?

Owning your home before your marriage does not guarantee that you'll keep it during your divorce. However, it could help you keep it if the facts of your circumstances support such a result under Tennessee law. Let's take a closer look at homeownership and how a pre-marriage home could stay in the hands of the spouse who previously owned it.

Regardless of who owned the home before marriage, if you and your spouse share children, then the spouse who wins full physical custody will maintain the upper hand when it comes to homeownership. This is because family law courts will try to preserve the stability of the home environment of the children, and will prefer that the children stay with their home.

What's a COLA clause mean in a divorce settlement?

Are you receiving child support, but you're having a hard time putting together sufficient cash to pay the bills each month due to an increase in cost of living? Maybe your rent has increased and the grocery bills and gas bills are getting higher by the year, and you need some extra money every month to help with child care.

If you had the right approach to your divorce settlement, or if the judge included what's called a cost of living adjustment (COLA) clause in your divorce decree, then you may be in luck. You might be able to adjust your child support payments automatically based on how much the cost of living has increased. While a COLA clause can benefit recipients of child support by allowing them to receive increases based on cost of living, it can also result in a decrease if the cost of living decreases for some reason.

What will happen to my premarriage inheritance?

Imagine Aunt Martha died when you were 23 years of age, before you got married, and you inherited a large sum of money from her. You put the money in an annuity, and it's been growing steadily ever since. When you turned 30, you got married, and now -- just as you turn 40 -- you're getting divorced.

What will happen to your inheritance from Aunt Martha? You're counting on this inheritance to pay for your retirement one day, but now you're worried you could lose a large chunk of it in your divorce proceedings.

Why you should not put off divorce if you have kids

One common reason many couples put off a divorce in Clarksville is their family. They may believe they are protecting their kids from the negative aspects of the split. However, the truth is that putting off a divorce and staying in an unhealthy relationship may cause far more damage to children than you realize. 

It is important for you to not give your children the wrong impression about things. Even if you and their other parent are living in separate households, delaying the divorce process can have far-reaching consequences that you may not be prepared to deal with. Here are some reasons why you should consider moving forward with the divorce process instead of a long-term separation. 

How do you determine the value of your business in divorce?

When you're getting a divorce as a business owner, you need to determine the value of your business for the purpose of asset division. Knowing what your business interests are going into your divorce negotiations will help you determine a fair and equitable buyout under the law.

A "buyout" for business owners in the throes of a divorce refers to how much money the business owner will pay to his or her spouse for the spouse's legal share of the business. Alternatively, it refers to how much money you will receive for backing out of the business.

Under what circumstances can spouses annul a marriage?

What if you find out that your marriage was a fraud? What if you discover you're accidentally married to your cousin? In these circumstances, is it necessary to file for divorce and go through the entire divorce process to get out of your marriage? The answer to this question could be "no" in some circumstances -- that is, if you can qualify to have your marriage annulled.

Annulment is a legal term that describes the act of invalidating a marriage. Basically, if your marriage gets annulled, it will be like the marriage never happened. The annulment of marriages, however, is rare. That's because the circumstances that allow for annulment aren't common.

Military divorce and separation agreements

As an alternative to divorce, military service members might want to draft and sign a separation agreement. There are two kinds of separation agreements -- one involves couples entering into an out-of-court agreement and another that involves a court order and court approval of agreement. What follows is a description of out-of-court separation agreements for military service members.

There are several advantages to signing an out-of-court separation agreement. For example, couples can resolve issues relating to child support, child custody, property division and alimony -- while still enjoying other marital rights and benefits that come with being married. They can also affirm the date of their separation for the purposes of finalizing their divorce later. In many states, couples must live separately for a certain period of time before they can finalize their divorce.

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

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