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Alcoa, Tennessee, Family Law & Estate Planning Law Blog

More people using prenups to avoid property division issues

Divorce could happen to any married couple. While it may seem comforting to think that a relationship will last forever, that mindset may not always be realistic. Because of the potential for relationships not working out, Tennessee residents may want to prepare for property division proceedings before they take place.

One way that individuals in Tennessee can prepare for this area of divorce is by creating a prenuptial agreement. This type of contract has become more popular over the last 20 years, and individuals in the millennial generation have shown a particular interest in getting this agreement in place before getting married. Some speculation indicates that, since millennials are getting married at older ages, they may have more assets they want to protect from the possibility of divorce.

When do family law courts terminate parental rights?

Parents generally have the right to spend time with and care for their children, and also make important decisions regarding the lives of their children. However, circumstances can be such that a parent loses his or her parental rights.

The termination of parental rights won't happen for no reason at all. Tennessee family law courts will weigh this decision carefully, and they will only terminate parental rights in cases where they believe that it serves the best interest of the child or children involved.

Divorce may give cause to get back into estate planning

When married individuals create their estate plans, they often place their spouses in many of the vital positions, such as executor and heir to the majority of the estate. This may seem like the right move while the relationship remains happy, but in the event that the marriage comes to an end, estate planning needs revisiting. There are several aspects that Tennessee residents will likely want to update.

As mentioned, if an individual has named a soon-to-be ex-spouse as executor of the estate, that designation will likely need changing. Most people do not want an ex in such a position of power. Additionally, they typically do not want an ex to remain named as beneficiary for their important assets. Fortunately, these changes can be made within the estate plan. However, in some cases, parties may not be able to make changes until the divorce is final.

Sibling strife may cause litigation during probate administration

The legal process of estate probate has many aspects that can cause the proceedings to extend a relatively considerable amount of time. One of the biggest issues that can cause probate administration to come to a near halt involves litigation. Unfortunately, there are many issues that could arise during the closing of an estate that could lead to this type of action in Tennessee.

Discontent among family members is a significant issue that can lead to estate disputes. A person may indicate that one family member should receive certain assets while another family member should receive much less or maybe nothing at all. In particular, this type of situation can be cause for strife between surviving siblings, especially if the family did not get along particularly well.

Consider the benefits of estate planning before skipping the plan

Because creating an estate plan is a personal experience, some Tennessee residents may choose not to create one. However, this decision could take place when individuals do not have the right information about why estate planning could prove useful. Therefore, before refraining from making end-of-life arrangements, parties may wish to make sure they understand some of the common benefits.

One way an estate plan could benefit individuals is that it gives them the opportunity to protect their assets. Parties could review various options for arranging their assets in ways that could help them stay safe from losing their funds and property in the event that they need long-term care. Taking the time to understand options for paying for care and protecting property could help individuals ensure that their families still stand to obtain intended inheritances.

Parental alienation could point to child custody issue

Many Tennessee parents may fear the day when their children do not want to spend as much time with them as they used to. Typically, this occurs when children reach teenage years or as they develop their own senses of independence. However, after divorce, some parents may notice that their children become harsh and distant, and while this could be an emotional side effect of the family split, it could also indicate a child custody issue.

When parents no longer get along, a chance for parental alienation could exist. One parent who wants to get revenge or otherwise feels more important than the other parent may take actions to keep the children away. The alienating parent may first make excuses for not allowing visits, such as the child not feeling well or needing to work on homework.

Is our belief in 'love' the reason why we divorce?

Several hundred years ago -- when modern divorce law didn't exist -- it wasn't very common for two spouses to separate and leave one another. The notion of "until death do us part" was taken a little more seriously back then.

These days, we see marriage and divorce in a dramatically different way. Society has even created laws to govern what happens when one of the spouses chooses to call it quits on a marriage. According to one psychologist, the ease of the modern day divorce process is largely because we now believe that everlasting, enduring love is a necessary component of marriage. To this effect, we also believe that if love isn't in the marriage, then it's perfectly logical to proceed with a divorce.

Conflicts during Tennessee probate administration can be costly

People are commonly intimidated by legal proceedings. Even when these processes are necessary for generally non-confrontational situations, Tennessee residents can still feel immensely overwhelmed. Though probate administration can go smoothly, there is also the potential for conflict, and individuals holding the position of personal representative may have a difficult time knowing how to address these issues.

If a dispute leads to probate litigation, the executor of the estate may have questions when it comes to paying for the costs associated with litigating. In some cases, estate funds may be used, and in others, the representative may have to put up personal funds. In the latter case, when litigating issues that revolve around non-probate assets, the use of estate funds may not be allowed.

Could slowing down help make divorce, property division easier?

The decision to divorce was likely not one made in haste. Many Tennessee residents may give this type of choice a considerable amount of time and thought before deciding to go through with filing a petition. After the process begins, some individuals may want to speed through the process as quickly as possible, but that may not be the best option, especially when it comes to property division.

Taking the time to slow down, particularly at the beginning of the divorce process, may help both parties involved. While one person may have given the decision a lot of thought, the other individual may feel as if the news came out of nowhere. In such cases, it may prove beneficial to take a step back and give the other person time to come to terms with the idea of ending the marriage.

On child support payments and the costs they cover

If you have children with your spouse and then you decide to get a divorce at some point in the future, there will obviously be a couple of important discussions you need to have. The first is related to child custody, and hopefully the two of you can figure out a joint custody arrangement if that works for your situation. But the other topic you need to be ready for is child support.

Not every case will involve child support, but when it is involved, the spouse that receives the payments may be under the impression that the payments can only be used for very specific reasons. However, this simply isn't the case. Child support payments can be used for a bevy of bills that relate to the care of your child.

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James H. Snyder Attorney at Law
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