Zettersten & Hammond PLLC

Brentwood Family Law Blog

How a person can protect marital assets in a divorce

When people make the decision to move forward with divorce, they probably have concerns regarding how this process will affect their financial future. It's normal to worry about what will happen to marital assets in a divorce, and a Brentwood reader will find it beneficial to learn how he or she can protect his or her financial interests. It's smart to be prepared before initiating the divorce process or making any important decisions. 

In a divorce, two spouses will have to divide marital assets, which includes anything bought, earned or accumulated over the course of the marriage. Some people wrongfully assume that, if they keep their money in separate accounts, they will not have to divide it in a divorce, but that is not true. State property division laws can still require that spouses split assets, share proceeds or divide money, even if it is kept in just one of the spouse's names. 

Parents Faced with Child Custody Decisions Can Help Their Kids by Making Smart Choices

What will happen to the children is one of the most complex and difficult issues a parent will have to address during a divorce. Kids are more equipped to adjust to their parents' separation and divorce when the parents are committed to working together through a reasonable and fair child custody order. Kids are also more likely to succeed after divorce when they are allowed to maintain a strong relationship with both parents. 

Divorce is not easy for parents, and there are a lot of strong feelings involved in the process of ending a marriage. No matter how Middle Tennessee parents in Williamson, Maury, and Rutherford counties feel about each other, it is always better for their children if they refrain from speaking negatively about each other. In fact, our legislators made it a Tennessee law under T.C.A. § 36-6-101 (vi) to prohibit them from making such remarks about one another and their families.  It's also important for their kids to see each other working respectfully together to meet the terms of their custody plan.

Fewer couples are filing for divorce, but why?

There are now fewer couples in Brentwood, Murfreesboro, and across the United States who are choosing to end their marriages than in the past, and there are many reasons for this trend. Statistics indicate that the overall divorce rate has fallen by 18% between 2008 and 2016. Some of the factors that affect this includes a changing cultural perspective on marriage and divorce.

Today, there is more support for people when they do not get along with a spouse. Despite a more common acceptance of divorce, the rate continues to dip. Americans age 45 and under and the ones who are driving this trend, which means that the divorce rate among older demographics is higher than with younger age groups. A reason for this may include the fact that younger people are waiting longer to marry, and when they do, they are being more intentional about it. 

Financial surprises that come with divorce

It's never easy to make the decision to end a marriage. Chances are that both parties gave a potential divorce careful consideration before moving forward, but there are other important steps a person will want to take as he or she prepares for this significant process. One important step is to work to avoid unpleasant financial surprises after the process is final. 

Divorce will change the financial situation for both parties. Overall, it is likely that there will be a reduction in income. Simply put, a separation means there are now two households to support instead of one.  This can make it difficult for parents to save, and it may ultimately affect whether children will be able to have all the opportunities you want for them, including going to college. The parents we serve in Brentwood, Murfreesboro, Columbia, and other areas can work diligently during the divorce process to secure a fair financial settlement, have a clear picture of their financial future and ensure the protection of their kids' interests. 

Spousal support: The answer for a lesser-earning spouse

Spousal support can be an important part of your divorce settlement in ensuring you have enough money to support yourself after divorce.

In the case that one of you earns more than the other and the lesser-earning spouse cannot support themselves, alimony can be a solution. Alimony can be used to make up a difference between your wages, particularly in cases where one spouse earns much more than the other. For example, a spouse earning $40,000 married to one earning six figures would benefit from support to help them live a similar lifestyle to what they've become accustomed to.

A child psychologist's perspective on divorce and children

Making the choice to end a Tennessee marriage is a complex decision, and for many families, it represents the end of a time of fighting, stress and disagreements. In many ways, a divorce can actually be a healthy choice for every member of a family. However, children can be deeply impacted by this process, and parents will want to make certain they protect their kids as much as possible.

According to a child psychologist, there are specific things a parent can do to shield the mental and emotional well-being of their kids during this time. One important thing is allowing the children to have a good relationship with both parents. This may mean sharing parenting time, but it is often the best choice for the kids. Additionally, parents can reduce stress on their kids by not speaking negatively about each other within earshot of their kids. This can build animosity and damage important formative relationships in the child's life.

Study asks: What is a stay-at-home parent's contribution worth?

There is no doubt about it: Raising and caring for kids is expensive. Daycare and childcare are so expensive, in fact, that most couples must decide it if makes more financial sense for both parents to work or to go down to a single income and have one parent stay at home with the kids.

Studies show that about 25 percent of mothers in the United States assume the role of stay-at-home parent, while just 7 percent of men do the same. During the marriage, the tradeoffs involved in leaving the workforce to be a stay-at-home parent are a matter of personal preference and satisfaction. But if the couple ends up getting a divorce, the situation can result in a serious imbalance of earning power and income.

Smart steps for handling marital assets and support in divorce

Divorce is a financially complex process for couples of all income levels. Due to recent changes in tax laws, the financial aspects of a divorce are more complicated than ever before. It is crucial to make smart choices regarding marital assets based on one's best financial future. Part of this includes thinking about tax implications.

One smart step is to go ahead and sell the family home, if you and your spouse can agree. This is not an easy choice, especially for parents who may want to keep the home for the sake of the children. However, selling the home can give both parties more financial flexibility in a time of adjustment, reduced income and new expenses. Tennessee couples negotiating over spousal support may want to consider using a grantor trust, in which the paying spouse will set aside money for the lesser-earning spouse, but without some of the tax burden.

What is the likelihood of getting joint child custody in divorce?

When parents go through divorce, they strive to do everything in their power to protect the best interests of their children. For some families, allowing the children to have equal time with both parents through a joint child custody arrangement is one way to do this. In fact, many Tennessee courts now see the benefits of this specific type of custody and visitation plan.

In the past, it was much more likely that mothers would get primary custody of the children. Often, dads were left with just weekend visitation. Today, courts are more likely to prefer joint physical and legal custody, which means parents share the right to make decisions on behalf of their children as well as parenting time. This provides stability for kids, which is good for their mental and emotional health in the short and long-term. 

However, the court must make a determination about what is in the best interests of the children, considering the factors listed in T.C.A. § 36-6-106.  This is why it is important to consult with an attorney regarding all the factors that affect your children and how they will affect you in court.

Why are grandparents so important to a child's development?

Many adults attribute special memories to time spent with their grandparents when they were young. Whether you enjoyed rare one-on-one time, learned to develop a skill or appreciated having another place where you felt loved unconditionally, your grandparents likely played an important role in your life.

As a parent, you might want to allow your children the opportunity to create similar memories with their grandparents, despite any extenuating circumstances your family may face. And since a court could potentially grant your children's grandparents visitation rights, it might be important to recognize the role grandparents play in children's lives.

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