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Montgomery County Divorce Law Blog

Which factors do courts consider when relocating a child?

For any parent in Tennessee, or elsewhere in the U.S., planning carefully before relocating a child after a divorce is extremely crucial when it comes to protecting the best interests of the child. A couple of months ago, a post on this blog discussed the planning that is required if a parent wishes to relocate with his or her child after a divorce. The planning stage generally involves counseling the child in preparation for relocating, identifying a school that the child will attend after relocation and seeking orders from the court to facilitate the move.

Courts in Tennessee, as well as in the rest of the country, consider certain factors before permitting a parent to relocate with the child. The first factor remains the best interests of the child. This includes school and day care, family and friends in the community where the parent is planning to relocate and the relationship that the child has and will continue to have with the non-custodial parent. It is important for the parent who wishes to relocate to come prepared with responses in the event that a judge asks the parent questions pertaining to those factors.

International adoptions and Tennessee parents

A couple from Tennessee who wishes to adopt a child from abroad must deal with a number of state, federal and international regulations that govern international adoptions. Per existing practices, a child from abroad is usually adopted within their original country and then is "re-adopted" once the family has returned to the United States. Upon return, formalities within the state's requirements need to be completed to finalize the adoption.

In most cases of international adoptions, adoption agencies, approved by the U.S. Department of State, play an important role. As mentioned earlier, the children are first adopted in their own country after which the prospective parents are required to obtain a special immigration visa for the adopted child.

Some important assets not to ignore during property division

When a Tennessee couple heads for divorce, is the spouses are usually prepared for an equitable division of property as directed by Tennessee law. However, sometimes spouses overlook assets and debts, which are a part of marital property and as a result emerge from the courtroom feeling that they have been treated unfairly. Therefore, it is important for divorcing spouses to address some crucial financial areas that can have a significant impact on asset division at the time of divorce.

Spouses should understand the amount of liquid cash needed after a divorce. If the requirement is immediate, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and retirement accounts should be used. However, if immediate cash flow is not an issue, retaining assets with mixed degrees of liquidity is usually beneficial in the long run.

Dividing complex and business assets during divorce in Tennessee

For some Tennessee couples who decide to divorce, one of the major decisions that they need to make involves business and other complex assets that the husband and wife own together. At the end of a marriage, the parties must divide their marital property, including whatever complex assets and business assets they may own together.

It often happens that one spouse takes over the responsibility of a family-owned business. In such a case, it may become difficult for the other spouse to be fully aware of the actual financial situation of the business. Therefore, determining the fair and equitable share of the business assets for the other spouse may sometimes be difficult.

What is the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act?

With active deployment and regular relocations an inevitability in the military, life is difficult for Tennessee military personnel and their spouses. As a result, many marriages end in divorce. One major concern is child custody. Many child custody disputes involving military personnel are heard in family courts around Tennessee and the rest of the country.

While some states have ordinances to protect military personnel's rights in child custody disputes, there was a clear lack of uniformity in the system. In order to address the inconsistencies, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws put forth the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act, or UDPCVA, to address the numerous issues that military personnel face in child custody and visitation plans. In 2014, Tennessee legislation considered and enacted House Bill 2314. The UDPCVA plans to address the issues through its five articles:

  • The first article provides definitions and general provisions of the act. It also reiterates the importance of military personnel to inform his or her spouse of active deployment within the shortest possible time. The first article also bars courts from considering past or future deployment of a service member while determining the best interests of a child.
  • The second article of the UDPCVA details the procedure that parents must follow to reach an out-of-court settlement pertaining to child custody and visitation during active deployment.
  • The third article prohibits the court from awarding permanent child custody without a deployed parent's consent. At the same time, it also allows for expedited proceedings for those military personnel and their wives who are unwilling to enter a child custody arrangement prior to deployment.
  • The fourth article of the UDPCVA explains the procedure for terminating temporary child custody arrangements if the spouses consent to it. In cases where the parents do not agree, the article also establishes the courts role in resolving the dispute.
  • Finally, the fifth article of the act mentions the effective date and the uniform language.

The rights of unmarried fathers in Tennessee

There used to be a time when courts considered that the best interests of the child could only be preserved when the child stayed with the mother. The tenders' doctrine, as this practice was known, led to many child custody and visitation cases being settled in favor of the mother, without paying adequate attention to a father's pleas for child custody, even when that father was mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially capable of caring for his child.

However, like other sociological changes in American society, fathers' rights have also evolved with time and nowadays, courts in Tennessee consider the best interests of the child while deciding on child custody and visitation, unlike the tender years' doctrine of yester-years. In addition to the societal change, federal and state agencies have made various efforts to ensure that fathers' rights are protected, especially when that father is unmarried.

How do Tennessee courts define parenting plans?

In the U.S., there are many parents who are either divorced, are in the process of getting a divorce or are contemplating a divorce. Parents understand how critical the issue of child custody and visitation are. To make it more civilized, courts in Tennessee prefer to refer to child custody and visitation rights as parenting plans.

To understand the concept of a parenting plan in Tennessee, a parent needs to understand how the courts define this particular term. According to the Tennessee Courts website, a parenting plan is a way for separated parents to ensure that a child is provided with all feasible comforts, even after the parents are separated. The plan acknowledges the importance of the involvement of both parents in a child's upbringing and encourages a healthy parent-child relationship. Every aspect of a parenting plan is targeted to ensure the best interests of the child.

Tennessee man had to pay child support twice

Tennessee residents can often agree that children are affected the worst during divorces. Not only do they face the emotional turmoil of their family breaking apart, but the custodial parent may also face financial insecurities as well. Who will cater to the children's expenses, including food, clothing, schooling and medical expenses? These are the questions that haunt many people's minds when families break up.

In the best interests of the child, there should be no dispute about child support. But what happens when a father is double billed for payments? This is what happened in the case of a man when he took up part-time employment after his current wife had to leave her job.

What is the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act?

Due to the nearby United States Army's Fort Campbell installation, the area around Clarksville, Tennessee, is home to many military families. Like civilian families, many couples in the military have marital issues, which can lead to divorce. The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act is an act that provides benefits to the ex-spouses of service members.

According to the act, a state court is allowed to divide the disposable retirement pay of the military member between that member and the member's spouse. The decision to divide that property, however, rests with the state court. In some cases, a service member's former spouse is paid directly by the government. Other benefits may include medical care at military facilities and admittance to commissaries and exchanges. In some cases, the act entitles spouses or children who have been victims of abuse to certain benefits. A service member's former spouse may also obtain benefits under the Survivor Benefit Plan.

Memphis nonprofit offers training to foster parents

Due to the inability of their biological family to provide them with a secure and stable environment, many children in the United States are being raised in foster homes. In Tennessee, the Department of Child Services is entrusted with the responsibility of providing a temporary home for such children. The DCS selects foster families who are capable of supporting the children during their formative years and catering to their social and emotional needs.

It is not uncommon for foster parents to later seek child custody, and therefore, developing parenting skills right from the stage when they first become foster parents is extremely important. To aid in this effort, Youth Villages, a nonprofit organization from Memphis, Tennessee, is offering free orientation and training for foster parents. As many children in Tennessee find it difficult to find a foster home, this effort is expected to go a long way.

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Photo of Steven C. Girsky Steven C. Girsky

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Having a steady hand to guide you through your legal concerns can make all the difference. Representing clients in the greater Clarksville and Hopkinsville area since 1991, attorney Steven C. Girsky is well-respected among members of the bench and bar. Licensed in both Kentucky and Tennessee, he receives referrals from former clients and lawyers...

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