Family Law and Divorce
Upon request, attorney Mark C. Hartsoe will assist selected parties in divorce proceedings that involve litigation over property division and child custody issues. Mr. Hartsoe is called to assist other divorce attorneys when serious litigation is involved.
Many Tennessee residents face issues related to family law—such as divorce, requests for spousal support (or alimony), child custody, division of property, and annulments of marriage. Each of those issues has both emotional and financial components, and the resolution of conflicts related to family law can often be costly in terms of time, money, and stress.
Tennessee attorney Mark Hartsoe is dedicated to providing his clients the highest level of legal services and personalized representation during difficult times in their lives. Our firm can help you through the entire divorce process, from the filing of the initial petition to the signing of the final decree that will allow you to move on with your life. While we will do our utmost to help you reach a marital settlement agreement, we are also prepared to represent you in court in relation to any contested issues.
We are ready to help you address key matters such as
- child custody and visitation
- division of marital property
- requests for alimony (or spousal support)
- protective orders in cases that involve domestic violence.
In general, you must be a resident of Tennessee for at least 6 months before you can file for divorce in this state (some exceptions do exist). Uncontested divorces (i.e. those in which the spouses can reach agreement on all the issues involved) take several months; contested ones can take far longer.
In Tennessee, spousal support is not a “given”; while either spouse may request financial support from the other, a judge will consider a number of factors in determining whether or not to grant such a request.
In regard to child custody, Tennessee law makes no presumption about which spouse should be the main custodial parent. Child custody has two dimensions: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the child’s residence, and to the custodial parent’s responsibility to meet the child’s daily needs. Legal custody refers to the authority to make decisions about the child’s health care, education, religion, and other similar aspects of the child’s life.
Ex-spouses may share physical custody of their children, legal custody, or both. When a parent has a smaller percentage of the physical custody, he or she is described as having “visitation” rights. (Please see additional information about “Father’s Visitation.”). Child custody may be determined as part of a divorce, but parents may request modifications of custody orders (which would be considered by family court judges) until the children are no longer minors. In cases where parents can’t agree on a custody arrangement for their children, a family court judge will determine that arrangement, based on the “best interests” of the children.
In cases in which spouses can’t agree regarding the division of their property, a family court judge will divide the couple’s marital property on an “equitable” basis—which means that the property will not be divided equally, but fairly, after taking into consideration the spouses’ ages, health, finances, earning power, and various other factors.
Child support is mandated by Tennessee law and calculated according to a state-established formula.
Issues such as child custody, child support, and alimony may also be addressed in the context of legal separation, rather than divorce.
Many people have a lot of misconceptions about various aspects of divorce and family law. If you are considering divorce, or if your spouse has begun divorce proceedings, the best way to ensure that you have a clear and realistic view of what will follow is to discuss your case with a knowledgeable and effective Tennessee divorce attorney.
You will need both information and support. Please contact The Hartsoe Law Firm today to schedule an initial consultation regarding any issue related to Tennessee family law: call (865) 524-5657, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out and submit our online “Contact Us” form.