Your Next Chapter Is Waiting.
We’re Here To Guide You To It

Answers To Your Family Law And Divorce Questions

With over 40 years of experience helping families and individuals throughout Nashville and Middle Tennessee, Attorney Martin Sir operates a top-rated divorce and family law firm. Whether you are in the beginning stages of considering divorce or are in need of legal representation as you fight for custody, Martin Sir & Associates is prepared to assist you in making the best decisions for your unique situation.

Take a look at some of our most frequently asked questions or call our office for immediate help.

For an initial consultation from our qualified Nashville lawyer, call 615-813-4355 text us at (615) 218-7131 or fill out the online inquiry today! 

I’m thinking about divorce. What do I do first?

If you are considering divorce, we strongly recommend that you contact our office as soon as possible. Every divorce is unique. At Martin Sir & Associates, we want to patiently and graciously help you work through your case in a professional manner.

What are my options for divorce?

When it comes to divorce, there are two paths you can take. The first is contested divorce and the second is an uncontested divorce. In a contested divorce, the parties have several options to agree to the terms for the dissolution of the marriage through settlement negotiations, mediation and/or a judicial settlement conference.

In an uncontested divorce, both parties work together to amicably arrive at conclusions about the terms for the dissolution of the marriage.  If these options fail, the parties can move forward with a contested trial and the Court will make the final determination.

What is the difference between marital and separate property?

Our team of experts will walk you through the classification of marital property versus separate property. There is also a classification of assets that are considered a hybrid of the two. Asking you the questions that you may or may not know about these assets provides great insight into how to classify your assets which is key in arguing to protect your separate property.

What is mediation?

In Tennessee, divorce mediation (or alternative dispute resolution/ADR) is when a trained Rule 35 mediator works with people in conflict to resolve their disputes. Most courts require that the parties attend mediation prior to having a contested trial. The mediation process is more private, more flexible, typically faster and more financially accessible.

It is in many cases less contentious and easier on you, your family, and your children. Because the parties are encouraged to work together to create solutions, mediation can be a good way for divorcing parents to reestablish communication.

What are the Tennessee statutes/guidelines for alimony, child support and custody?

The Courts in Tennessee have several factors to consider when making an alimony award. There are also several different types of alimony the court can consider. The factors for the Court to consider in an award of alimony can be found in T.C.A. 36-5-121(1) which are as follows:

a. In determining whether the granting of an order for payment of support and maintenance to a party is appropriate, and in determining the nature, amount, length of term, and manner of payment, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including:

    1. The relative earning capacity, obligations, needs, and financial resources of each party, including income from pension, profit sharing or retirement plans and all other sources;
    2. The relative education and training of each party, the ability and the opportunity of each party to secure such education and training, and the necessity of a party to secure further education and training to improve such party’s earnings capacity to a reasonable level;
    3. The duration of the marriage;
    4. The age and mental condition of each party;
    5. The physical condition of each party, including, but not limited to, physical disability or incapacity due to a chronic debilitating disease;
    6. The extent to which it would be undesirable for a party to seek employment outside the home, because such party will be custodian of a minor child of the marriage;
    7. The separate assets of each party, both real and personal, tangible and intangible;
    8. The provisions made with regard to the marital property, as defined in § 36-4-121;
    9. The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage;
    10. The extent to which each party has made such tangible and intangible contributions to the marriage as monetary and homemaker contributions, and tangible and intangible contributions by a party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party;
    11. The relative fault of the parties, in cases where the court, in its discretion, deems it appropriate to do so; and
    12. Such other factors, including the tax consequences to each party, as are necessary to consider the equities between the parties.

Generally speaking, if one party makes considerably more than the other spouse, alimony would be a consideration.

The Tennessee Child Support Guidelines were created by the State in developing a child support calculator that determines the amount of child support one parent might have to pay to the other. Generally speaking, the Tennessee Child Support Guidelines takes into consideration the number of days (overnights) each parent spends with the child, each party’s gross monthly income, work-related childcare and the cost of health insurance for the children.

Who will get custody of the children?

In making a determination of custody, the Court is required to consider the following statutory requirements:

(a) In a suit for annulment, divorce, separate maintenance, or in any other proceeding requiring the court to make a custody determination regarding a minor child, the determination shall be made on the basis of the best interest of the child. In taking into account the child’s best interest, the court shall order a custody arrangement that permits both parents to enjoy the maximum participation possible in the life of the child consistent with the factors set out in this subsection (a), the location of the residences of the parents, the child’s need for stability and all other relevant factors. The court shall consider all relevant factors, including the following, where applicable:

    1. The strength, nature, and stability of the child’s relationship with each parent, including whether one (1) parent has performed the majority of parenting responsibilities relating to the daily needs of the child;
    2. Each parent’s or caregiver’s past and potential for future performance of parenting responsibilities, including the willingness and ability of each of the parents and caregivers to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and both of the child’s parents, consistent with the best interest of the child. In determining the willingness of each of the parents and caregivers to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and both of the child’s parents, the court shall consider the likelihood of each parent and caregiver to honor and facilitate court ordered parenting arrangements and rights, and the court shall further consider any history of either parent or any caregiver denying parenting time to either parent in violation of a court order;
    3. Refusal to attend a court ordered parent education seminar may be considered by the court as a lack of good faith effort in these proceedings;
    4. The disposition of each parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, education and other necessary care;
    5. The degree to which a parent has been the primary caregiver, defined as the parent who has taken the greater responsibility for performing parental responsibilities;
    6. The love, affection, and emotional ties existing between each parent and the child;
    7. The emotional needs and developmental level of the child;
    8. The moral, physical, mental and emotional fitness of each parent as it relates to their ability to parent the child. The court may order an examination of a party under Rule 35 of the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure and, if necessary for the conduct of the proceedings, order the disclosure of confidential mental health information of a party under § 33-3-105(3). The court order required by § 33-3-105(3) must contain a qualified protective order that limits the dissemination of confidential protected mental health information to the purpose of the litigation pending before the court and provides for the return or destruction of the confidential protected mental health information at the conclusion of the proceedings;
    9. The child’s interaction and interrelationships with siblings, other relatives and steprelatives, and mentors, as well as the child’s involvement with the child’s physical surroundings, school, or other significant activities;
    10. The importance of continuity in the child’s life and the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment;
    11. Evidence of physical or emotional abuse to the child, to the other parent or to any other person. The court shall, where appropriate, refer any issues of abuse to juvenile court for further proceedings;
    12. The character and behavior of any other person who resides in or frequents the home of a parent and such person’s interactions with the child;
    13. The reasonable preference of the child if twelve (12) years of age or older. The court may hear the preference of a younger child upon request. The preference of older children should normally be given greater weight than those of younger children;
    14. Each parent’s employment schedule, and the court may make accommodations consistent with those schedules; and
    15. Any other factors deemed relevant by the court.

Tennessee Code Annotated § 36-6-106. Child custody.

I’m in the military. Are these types of divorce cases handled differently?

Military cases are handled differently than civilian divorce cases. At The Law Office of Martin Sir & Associates, we understand how to work through military cases in Tennessee. There are special laws according to the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) that will affect how property is divided in these cases. Call us today to find out what rights you have whether you are a service member or the spouse of a service member.

I’m a grandparent, and my child is getting divorced. Do I have rights to see my grandkids?

Grandparents often form a close bond with their grandkids, and this bond can be jeopardized by a divorce. If you are a grandparent worried about the future of your relationship with your grandkids, we encourage you to contact us for a free 30-minute consultation.

Do you have more questions? We have answers! Contact The Law Office of Martin Sir & Associates online today, call us at 615-813-4355 or text us at 615-218-7131 for a case evaluation.