Areas of Practice

Divorce

When a couple decides that it’s no longer in their best interests to be together, a divorce may be the best option. Our office can assist clients with either an agreed divorce or a contested divorce. During the divorce process, we will educate our clients about their different options, and give advice as to what may be the most beneficial route. In a divorce, a married couple goes through the process of dividing their assets and liabilities that were collected during the course of the marriage. If there are children involved, the couple will also work through a permanent parenting plan to determine the schedule and method of co-parenting the children. There are also the issues of alimony and child support that may need to be addressed. If the divorce is an “agreed” divorce, this means that the parties have already agreed on how to divide everything, and how to co-parent their children. A contested divorce is any divorce in which there are remaining issues on which the parties cannot agree. In both instances, a person needs to have an attorney to guide them through the process. This would consist of completing the paperwork properly in the case of an agreed divorce. In a contested divorce, it would include the attorney negotiating on the client’s behalf, attending mediation, performing discovery, and preparing for and attending trial.

Law_Weights_ScalesPost-Divorce Litigation

Once a divorce in finalized, the marital dissolution agreement and permanent parenting plan are adopted as part of the final divorce decree. Once adopted by the court, these documents become court orders. If one of the parties does not follow through with their obligations listed in these documents, they could be guilty of contempt of court, and the non-offending party may be entitled to a modification of a parenting plan, or to some other relief based on the other party’s violations. You need an attorney to review the other party’s alleged violations in order to evaluate the possible relief that may be afforded to you. Our office can help with that.

Child Custody / Parenting Plans

Obviously, not everyone with children is married. Sometimes unmarried parents are able to live together and/or co-parent cooperatively for quite a while, sometimes even until the children reach adulthood. Other times, however, a couple decides to go their separate ways. What happens with the children at this point? Who has superior rights? Who is responsible for child support and how much should that be? These are all questions that a permanent parenting plan are designed to answer. Our law office will assist a client in filing paperwork which asks the court to adopt their proposed parenting plan. Hopefully, both parties will agree as to how to co-parent their child and the schedule for custody. In the event that an agreement is not reached on all issues discussed in a parenting plan, or if there are only minor issues left to be resolved, then your attorney needs to prepare for a hearing in which the Judge would decide on your parenting time based upon the relevant laws. Child support is set using a child support worksheet. Our office helps to complete this worksheet for our clients.

Kelsy with ClientsPaternity

Unwed fathers need to be aware that just because they sign the birth certificate does not mean that they are entitled to visitation until there is an order by a court. There are a few ways in which a father can be legally recognized as the child’s father. A father can sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity at the hospital, he can request a DNA test from the court, or he and the mother can both swear under oath in court that he is the father. Our office can assist fathers in establishing both paternity and visitation with the child or children in the event the mother does not want to be cooperative.

Father’s Rights

We can help fathers maximize their parenting time with their children, regardless of whether the parenting plan was entered into several years ago, or whether there has never been a parenting plan established. The laws in Tennessee have recently changed to state that, depending on certain factors, a court shall adopt a parenting plan adopting the maximum participation possible for both parents. The law is evolving to encourage participation from both mothers and fathers, regardless of the gender of the children. Again, this is based on several factors that we can discuss during a free consultation to determine the strengths of your case.

KAM_Family_Law_Office_FolderGrandparent Visitation

“Grandparents don’t have rights in Tennessee.” This is often what grandparents hear when they’re trying to see their grandchildren. The truth is, grandparents can obtain court ordered visitation in certain situations, and sometimes even custody. Some of these situations include when a grandchild has lived with you for a period of twelve months, there’s a significant relationship for at least twelve months, or the parents have dropped off the child and you’ve been caring for that child for a period of time. Each case is different. Our office can help you determine if you qualify for grandparent visitation or even temporary legal custody of your grandchild.

Adoption

There are technically two stages to an adoption. An adoption can occur only after the biological parents’ rights have been legally terminated. This can happen through a voluntary surrender or through a contested termination trial in which the Petitioner would have to show that there are grounds to terminate the parents’ parental rights, and that the termination would be in the child or children’s best interests. Once this step is completed, the child would be available for adoption. Our office handles both aspects of the adoption process.