Knoxville, TN Family Lawyers

Divorce, child custody, child support, alimony – all of these issues fall under the “family law” umbrella. We take special pride in representing people facing these types of issues. Family issues are the most personal, emotional – sometimes raw – issues people face in their lives. For people to trust us with their hurts, hopes, fears, vulnerabilities, finances, and futures is a humbling honor, one that we do not take for granted. That is also why we tailor our approach to each client’s specific situation. Here are a few questions clients often have:

How long does a divorce case take?

The lawyer-ly answer is “it depends.”  If both parties have agreed on every issue, such as property division, splitting debt, etc., some cases can be finalized as soon as sixty days after the case was filed.  More commonly though, divorce cases take between six months and one year to complete.  A lot of factors – many of which the attorneys and parties cannot control – determine how long a case takes.

Does it matter who files for divorce first?

Generally, no.  A case may look a little different depending on who files first, but the end result is probably going to be the same.

How much does it cost to get a divorce?

Like the length of a case, the cost of a case can vary significantly.  Sometimes one party can control these costs, and sometimes he or she cannot.  A simple, fast, agreed-upon divorce can cost as little as $2,000.00.  More complex cases can cost each party tens of thousands of dollars.

There is an old joke that says, “Why does a divorce cost so much?  Because it’s worth it!”  We do not endorse this reasoning, but each person can decide for himself if the joke is funny or not.

Do courts always award custody to the mother?

Certainly not.  Child custody – now called “co-parenting” – depends on many factors.  A few of them might include each parent’s role in the child’s life up until now, work schedules, age, living arrangements, schooling, the child’s physical and emotional well-being, etc.  Ingrained in Tennessee law is the preference that both parents get maximum time with, and have equal responsibility for, the children.  How that looks in each case is very fact-specific.

Am I entitled to – or will my spouse get – 50% of everything we have?

Not necessarily.  The court will split the marital assets and debts equitably, not necessarily equally.  Rarely do both spouses earn the same amount of money, contribute equally to household bills, incur equal amounts of debt, have equal retirement accounts, and have equal earning potential post-divorce.   The court will consider these realities.  Is it possible everything will be split 50/50?  Yes.  Is it certain to happen?  No.

What does a divorce or child custody case look like?

Some people are fortunate enough to have never experienced a family law matter.  The most basic question many people have is, what can I expect?  At East Tennessee Employment Law, we do not sugarcoat this answer.  If you are considering retaining us, we want you to know exactly (or at least as best as we can predict) what you’re about to experience.

Most divorce and child custody cases look very similar to “ordinary” lawsuits you may have seen.  There is a plaintiff and a defendant (sometimes the parties are referred to as “petitioner” and “respondent”).  One party must initiate the case the same way other cases are started.  Oftentimes the defendant or respondent will get “served” with the papers; this simply means he/she is given formal notice and a copy of the court filing.  As the case progresses, the same rules governing procedure, evidence, discovery, and trial are generally going to apply, the same as they do in other types of cases.   And like other types of cases, there can either be a settlement or, if necessary, an actual trial.

I have other questions but am not ready to file.  Can I call your office?

Absolutely.  Family-related decisions are some of the hardest ones you’ll ever make.  It’s likely we cannot answer all of your questions right away, but we want you to have as much information as possible.  So yes, give us a call!