Practical advice for families in transition
In this age of do-it-yourself divorce kits and paralegal prepared documentation, you may think that you can effectively handle your family law matter and save legal fees. However, if you choose to represent yourself and make mistakes in the process, you will likely have to suffer the consequences. Our attorneys make sure that you fully understand your legal rights and all of the options available to you. We also take the time to explain the long term consequences of your options. Your spouse may also suggest that both of you use the spouse’s attorney. However, we have had countless people come to our attorneys post-divorce, after being unrepresented in the process, because they are completely dissatisfied with the custody and/or property agreements that they made. While we can be of assistance at times in obtaining changes, as a general rule the court enforces the agreement that the parties originally made. Thus, it is critical that you are represented in the initial divorce process. We are experienced with complex divorces, involving highly contested custody issues and property matters, including ownership of business interests. Our family law practice can assist you with a range of legal proceedings, including:
Court is not your only alternative. Consider mediation.
Mediation is often a cost-effective alternative to courtroom litigation. The participants have a greater degree of control over the outcome than they would if the case went before a judge. A mediator facilitates discussion of the matters at issue. Both parties work together to compromise and create workable solutions. Since the decisions are consensual, mediated proceedings usually have a higher rate of compliance over time.
Attorney Cynthia Wyrick is a Rule 31 listed attorney for family mediation. She frequently represents clients in the mediation process and also serves often as a mediator for others in these matters.
Our attorneys advise clients of their legal rights and obligations in a range of family law litigation. We are a child-focused firm offering individualized counsel and mediation services at cost-effective rates. A consultation with an attorney at our firm can give you a sense of what to expect in the road ahead. To talk to our lawyers, please contact us using our online contact form or call (865) 453-2866. We represent clients throughout Tennessee and clients in other states who have family law issues in the areas that we serve, which include Sevierville, Dandridge, Gatlinburg, Greeneville, Jefferson City, Knoxville, Kodak, Morristown, Newport, Pigeon Forge, Rogersville, Rutledge, Seymour, and White Pine.
Divorce can be devastating—and costly. When a marriage breaks up, there are several decisions to be made and questions to be answered. What will happen to you, your children, your assets, and your debts? These are issues that our attorneys help you address.
Our attorneys handle agreed-upon divorces, but are well experienced with contested divorces involving business valuations and complex custody disputes. Mediation is generally required now in all divorce cases in Tennessee, and we thoroughly prepare for mediation to maximize the opportunity for your case to be settled out of court because the process is far less stressful and more cost-effective. However, if compromise is impossible because the opposing party will not be reasonable, our attorneys are fully prepared to represent you in court.
Our attorneys advise you to prepare in advance for the divorce negotiations ahead:
- Know your spouse’s annual income. Judges must have this information to address issues of child support and alimony.
- Obtain proof of your own income.
- Learn about your family’s financial holdings, including cars, pensions, property, investment assets, and retirement accounts.
- Realistically assess your debt. Add up your personal loans, bank loans, car loans, mortgage payments, and credit card debt.
- Make copies of your family’s financial records, including, but not limited to, bank statements and cancelled checks, tax returns, life insurance policies, deeds, deeds of trust, mortgage statements, tax cards for each parcel of real property owned, any real estate appraisals available, retirement statements, credit card statements, financial statements, stock certificates, automobile notes and payment statements, utility bills, and records relating to any business interest. Ideally, you will provide five years of financial information.
- Take stock of family heirlooms. Photograph jewelry in the family safe, expensive paintings, antique furniture, or other items of value.
- Learn how much it costs to run your household. Beyond the mortgage and utility bills, consider the cost of miscellaneous expenses like pest control and lawn maintenance.
- Think about where and how you will live after the separation. Start planning and saving before you ask for a divorce.
- Apply for credit cards in your own name, but don’t charge more than you can afford to pay when the bill comes due.
- Stay involved with your children. In making custody decisions, the court will look at the role that you and your spouse have historically played in the children’s lives.
- Create a separate checking account with exactly half of your savings, if you are concerned that a divorce announcement will send your spouse running to the bank. Try not to use any of the funds in this account.
- Consider reducing the spending limits on your credit cards or canceling them altogether.
- Don’t make any unnecessary major purchases. A judge might consider the expense proof of your ability to pay for other additional expenses.
- Remain in your residence, if that is a reasonable option. If domestic violence is a concern for you, leave the home immediately. Your safety and the safety of your children is always the most important concern.
Talk to our attorneys to better understand your legal options. Call (865) 453-2866.
When addressing issues of child custody, support, and visitation, we know that the best interests of the children are our client’s primary concern. Our attorneys provide a calming presence and top-notch legal counsel to our clients involved in custody matters, which we realize are generally very stressful proceedings. Throughout the process, we are sensitive to your needs and goals, and are always mindful that your children’s futures are at stake.
We also assist clients with addressing post-decree issues that arise, which may necessitate changes to co-parenting schedules, custody, child support, or alimony. We are seasoned attorneys who will work diligently on your behalf to assist you with:
- Relocation - moving to another city or state
- Remarriage and possible stepparent adoption
- Job loss, as it relates to child support
- Emergency hearings to take immediate custody when you suspect abuse
Call our offices to schedule a consultation with our experienced lawyers: (865) 453-2866.
Whether you are a father seeking to establish your rights to your child or a mother seeking to require a father to provide financially for a child, the legitimation process is generally a very stressful one, because so much is at stake. Our attorneys guide clients through the process of DNA testing and filing for legal rights and benefits. We represent both mothers and fathers in paternity litigation. Contact our law offices to speak to an attorney. We offer practical advice tailored to your particular needs, always keeping in mind the child who is at the center of the litigation.
Marriage is an important decision. As you plan your future together, you should openly communicate about the difficult decisions: how to manage finances, whether to share household expenses, and who stands to inherit your assets upon your death. A prenuptial agreement is the ideal way to begin this discussion as you move forward toward your life together. These agreements can be particularly important for those who have children from a prior marriage. Our attorneys can guide you through these sensitive discussions, and are well versed in the requirements for a valid prenuptial agreement.
Our attorneys tremendously enjoy participating in stepparent and relative adoptions because they have the opportunity to have the legal system formally recognize the family that already exists from a practical standpoint. We take pride in helping families formalize their parental relationships with their stepchildren and relatives.
There are many benefits of step-parent and relative adoption:
- You can share your last name.
- You can give your child the benefit of social security disability benefits and death benefits.
- You give your child the right to inherit equally with your biological children.
- You obtain the legal right to make educational and medical decisions for your child.
In Tennessee, stepparent and relative adoptions require the consent of both birth parents. Many non-custodial parents may believe that giving up their parental rights is in their child's best interests. Other birth parents have little to no contact with their children. And many more would like to stop paying child support. Whatever the reason, our attorneys help you present a compelling argument for the adoption.
We work with adult adoptions as well as the adoption of minors. Speak to our attorneys for more information about your legal options. Call (865) 453-2866.
A guardian is court-authorized to make legal decisions—financial, medical, and/or personal—for an incapacitated person or a minor child, legally known as the ward. Legal guardianship is one of several legal options available to family members concerned about a parent, child, sibling, or spouse’s mental health or physical well-being. If you believe that you may need to seek guardianship of a loved one, call on the attorneys at Ogle, Gass & Richardson, P.C. to assist you with filing the appropriate legal documents.