DIVORCE ATTORNEY, NASHVILLE TENNESSEE, FAMILY LAW LAWYER, CHILD CUSTODY      Audrey Lee Anderson
(615) 244-3000

Q: I am 17 I live in Tennessee and I am pregnant, can I move out without parental consent?

Audrey’s answer: You would have to file a Petition for the Judge to emancipate you. You would have to prove that you have sufficient resources to care for yourself such as a job with income. The Judge would decide if you have met your Burden of proof. Good luck!

Q: In a non contested divorce with children is a complaint for divorce form needed in the state of Tennessee?

Audrey’s answer: Hi! If you are trying to use the free forms that are offered online through the Clerk’s office there are also instructions that explain how to do this on your own. Yes, A Complaint is always the first thing you file along with the filing fee. You have to wait 90 days before you can file your Order to Set and get your final hearing date. Good Luck!

Q: How can I file for a divorce if I don't have a dime....my husband has always been the provider. Forbidding me to work.

Audrey’s answer: Hi! On the Clerk’s Website are the free forms. Richard Rooker is the Davidson County Clerk. Follow the instructions and use their forms. Also, you can file a form for the Judge to determine whether your filing fee will be waived. Good Luck!

Q: I have recently been presented with information that my husband of six month (4/19) has been cheating. A friend told me to look into divorce writer and they can prepare documents for me to take to court in order to file for divorce. Is this a good option? We don't share any finances, children or property. He is currently in another city working. I need a quick and easy way out. I don't want spousal support or anything. Do I need his signature in order for my divorce to be granted?

Audrey’s answer: Hi! I would file a Complaint for Divorce and have him served. If he does not respond Motion the Court for a Default Judgment. In a short term marriage Courts will generally put the parties back to where they were before the marriage. Good Luck!

Q: I will get 50k from social security. Once my husband knew he was nice. He's stopped. Will he get half in divorce?

Audrey’s answer: Hi! I presume the issue is whether your back pay for a Social Security Disability Award will be divided in half in a divorce as part of a property division? You should hire an attorney and review the provisions in T.C.A. 36-4-121 which is where “marital property,” “separate property” and an “equitable division” are defined. This issue can be complicated and you really need to hire an attorney. The division of $50,000 is too much money to not get good legal advise about. Good Luck!

Q: Do I have to continue to pay for "Cobra" that my ex-wife doesn't have?

Audrey’s answer: Hi! The Answer depends upon what the Court’s Order specifically says you are to do with respect to payment of your ex spouse’s health insurance. Obtain a copy of the Judge Signed Order and review the provisions with an attorney to see if you still have to pay the monthly premium despite your ex not obtaining the coverage. You may have to Petition the Court to Modify the Final Order. Good Luck!

Q: What is an at fault divorce?

Audrey’s answer: In Tennessee when you go before a Judge asking for the relief of a divorce you have the burden of proving why the Judge should grant you a divorce. The Tennessee law T.C.A. 36-4-101 sets forth fifteen grounds that you could rely on to prove to a Judge why you should be granted a divorce. These are things like adultery, desertion, being convicted of a crime, habitual use of narcotics, etc. The one ground that is not fault based is Irreconcilable Differences. However, to use that ground both parties have to agree to all terms of the divorce. A Judge will never hear proof about fault in an Irreconcilable Differences divorce. I hope this helps. Good Luck!

Q: How do I get a legal separation in TN and how much does it cost?

Audrey’s answer: Tennessee has a statute that sets forth how to get a separation. Look at T.C.A. 36-4-102. You would file a Petition for Legal Separation. The Legal Separation will not affect the bonds of marriage but will allow the parties to live separate. The Court will Enter an Order that sets forth a final and complete adjudication of support and property rights and will also decide custody, visitation, and child support. You can expect to pay the same about for a legal separation that you would for a divorce because the same paperwork and process have to take place. I hope this is helpful. Good Luck!

Q: Can I collect from hidden assets from a divorce almost five years ago?

Audrey’s answer: Hello. Did your ex ever answer Discovery questions under Oath? The only way to catch a person lying during litigation is to find out they lied while under Oath or if you have a transcript where they testified under Oath one way and then changed their answer later. You may have a cause of action of perjury. If you have already signed the Marital Dissolution Agreement without doing your due diligence in finding out the real value of the stock you may be out of luck. You need to take your final Order to an Attorney. I hope this helps. Good Luck!

Q: Does divorce decree trump another judgment?

Audrey’s answer: Hi, it sounds like you had a Judicial Settlement Conference (JSC) before your final divorce hearing. In Davidson County all cases are required to have a JSC before the final divorce hearing. Mediation is a process that you are also required to participate in before you even go to a JSC or a Final Hearing. You may have interchanged the terminology and it is hard to know by what you have typed. You need to find the Order that states your ex is to pay back child support and a debt. Take that Order to an Attorney for a consultation to determine if the Order is still Valid. I hope this help you. Good Luck!

Q: Divorce has been vacated after appeal, now how do i file a motion to renew?

Audrey’s answer: Hi, the Attorney that handled your Appeal should be able to advise you of the next step. Generally, I would need to see the ruling to see if everything was vacated or just portions of the Trial Court’s Order. Sometimes a simple Motion gets the vacated matter back onto the Trial Court’s docket. I hope this helps. Good Luck!

Q: My husband filed a motion asking for me to return things that he gave me as gifts? Do I need to prove that he gave them to me? He said they were his personal property.

Audrey’s answer: The answer depends upon what it is that your Husband wants returned. He may not believe the items are gifts. So, I would say “yes” you should be prepared at the Motion hearing to prove the character and nature of the items. Also, if there is still a debt associated with the gift the item may be a debt and not actually an asset. Go over of the facts with your lawyer before the Motion hearing. Good luck.

Q: Do I have to provide my address to my husband in a divorce if I am scared he will find and hurt me? When I moved out of the marital home I had some vandalism at my first rental place and have since moved. I can't prove it was him but I feel like it was.

Audrey’s answer: If you are afraid you should discuss the facts of your case with an attorney and either file for an order of protection or a complaint for a divorce. If you have already filed the divorce or a case is pending you can ask the court for a protective order. Good luck!

Q: Do both parties need to be present in court for an uncontested divorce in TN? I am the plaintiff.

Audrey’s answer: The Answer depends on which County your divorce is in and sometimes the Answer depends on who the Judge is. In some counties in Middle Tennessee neither party needs to appear in Court in order for the Judge to sign the Final Decree of Divorce. Some Judges routinely sign Final Decrees of Divorce as soon as the documents are submitted and the waiting time (60 days without children and 90 days with children) has run. In some cases a party can proceed to a Final Divorce Hearing through written questions (also referred to as Interrogatories) without personally appearing before the Judge. Each County has Local Rules of Court and some Judges have their own separate Chamber Rules. Your attorney should be able to direct you to the relevant rule for you. Good Luck. Audrey

Q: I filed complaint of divorce, 33 days later my spouse filed an answer disagreeing with the proposed parenting plan. He did not file a counter complaint and no alternate parenting plan was included. Does he have a time limit to propose an alternate plan? What are the next steps?

Audrey’s answer: The Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure sets forth a 30 day time frame to file an Answer from the date of service. If there is no Answer filed then you can File a Motion for a Default Judgment and to set your case for trial. In Tennessee if there are minor children involved the final divorce hearing cannot be set until the complaint has been on file for a minimum of 90 days. You will also have to ask the Court to Waive the requirement that you attend mediation. It is up to you to keep your case moving. The Judge and/or the Courts will not move the case for you. The way to do this is filing the Motion for Default. This will get the ball rolling so to speak. I hope this helps you! Good Luck! Audrey

Q: My girlfriend moved with our unborn child from FL to TN, denying me contact how do I establish paternity and what are my rights?

Audrey’s answer: If the child is not born when the birth mother moved to Tennessee you are going to have to establish your Paternity in Tennessee by filing a Petition to Establish Paternity after the child is born in the County where the Mother and the minor child are residing. Keep in mind that once you file in Tennessee and make a General Appearance, you can potentially waive any argument that you may have regarding whether Tennessee can exercise Personal Jurisdiction over you to set child support. You should consult with an Attorney that is familiar with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). Good Luck!

Q: Received a summons regarding child visitation from the State of California- child and I live in Memphis

Audrey’s answer: All States have adopted a version of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). You must consult with an attorney in Shelby County to discuss the jurisdictional sections of that law. Generally, you have to reside six (6) months in the state in order for the state to take jurisdiction and for that state to be the child’s “home state.” There may be exceptions in abuse cases. It is imperative that you consult with a Tennessee attorney and file a Petition in Shelby County where you currently live. Good Luck!

Q: Can a fireman get custody back of his lil girl?

Audrey’s answer: I am so sorry to hear about your experience. You should consult with an experienced Family Law Attorney that is familiar with this specific area of law. Good Luck!

Q: Going through a divorce and spouse is buying me small gifts should I accept them or refuse them? Reason she is doing this is because now she don't want the divorce. I filed, she counter filed but she is backed in a corner and now wants it to all go away.

Audrey’s answer: In Tennessee, a divorce can be granted for “fault based” reasons such as Inappropriate Marital Conduct. There is also a defense to Inappropriate Marital Conduct, called “Condonation.” I presume you have already retained an attorney who has filed your Complaint for you, so you should discuss the facts of the Grounds for your divorce that you have alleged in your complaint, and the relativity of the “small gifts” your Wife is giving you to see if by you accepting them you are condoning her alleged bad behavior. Good Luck! Audrey

Q: If the non-custodial parent goes to prison, can visitation rights be permanently revoked?

Audrey’s answer: Yes, parenting time will pick up where they left off. If you want it changed, you have to file a Petition to Modify the Permanent Parenting Plan in the County where you and your children are living. You have the Burden of Proving that there has been a Significant Material Change in the Circumstances since the last Permanent Parenting Plan was Ordered by the Court. In your Petition you ask for the parenting time to be modified and reduced. I highly doubt that you would get the parenting time “permanently revoked” unless the felony was related to abuse of one of your children. Please consult with an attorney in your County that has experience in Family Law. Good Luck! Audrey

Q: Is it ok to move out of the shared residence into another home before any papers are signed? custody of special needs child 24?

Audrey’s answer: Unfortunately the question you asked is not one that can be answered with a straight forward “Yes” or “No.” The reason why is because I would have to know whether there is any type of Order in place for your twenty four (24) year old adult child. For example, are you your adult child’s Conservator? Also, do you own Real Property with your spouse that you are abandoning when you move out or are you renting your residence? Generally, you are free to move wherever you want to. However, that does not mean that if your spouse files a Complaint for Divorce alleging you have abandoned your real property the Court will not Order you to continue to make mortgage payments to preserve the real property even though you don’t live there. Also, child support in some situations can be paid after a child is eighteen (18) years old. This is a very specialized area of law and it would really benefit you to have a consultation with an experienced Divorce Attorney that can specifically address your factual situation in your County. Good Luck! Audrey

Q: My ex husband filed for divorce. We have 4 minor children together & were almost to the end of our 90 day waiting period, when his atty withdrew due to lack of him paying. I have an atty but cannot afford to pay him more $$ to represent me as the plaintiff instead of defendant. He said all the paperwork would have to be redone & things are now complicated. What are my options to go ahead & get our divorce finalized without it costing me an arm & a leg?

Audrey’s answer: You can minimize some of your legal costs by helping your attorney get the “agreed to” documents signed and filed with the Court. You are going to have to file a Permanent Parenting Plan that is signed by both you and your Husband with the Clerk of the Court. You can download a blank Parenting Plan from Richard Rooker’s Website. He is the Clerk of the Davidson County Court. Google his name and search the site under Forms to get the Permanent Parenting Plan. You can also fill it out online. If all the terms are agreed to and both of you sign this should not cost you any money. You will also need to prepare a Marital Dissolution Agreement. You are going to have to pay your attorney to do this because this document is a contract and needs to accurately reflect the division of your marital estate. I hope this helps. Good Luck! Audrey

Q: My wife doens't work, and i was provider to her in marriage. Now she has proof of cheating and she is seeking support. We were married 12 years. Will it be bad for me? no children between us.

Audrey’s answer: Tennessee is an Alimony State. There are four (4) kinds of alimony that can be awarded. There are twelve (12) factors that the Court shall consider in determining whether to grant alimony. Your ability to pay alimony and your Wife’s need for alimony are also factors in awarding alimony. You should consult with an Attorney that has experience handling divorce cases involving alimony in the County where you live. The relative fault of each party that caused the breakdown of the marriage is one of the factors that you will need to discuss with an Attorney. Good Luck and hope this Answer helps. Audrey

Q: Is there anything I can do about my husband's ex wife contacting him even though their divorce had a no contact clause?

Audrey’s answer: What is the ex wanting when you are contacted? If it is regarding something relevant such as they are trying to get property back they were supposed to get in the Divorce then I would say filing a Contempt Petition would not stop the contact. However, if they are contacting you to harass or stalk you then another avenue to pursue would be to tell the ex to stop contacting you. If the ex does again you can talk to a District Attorney (DA) in your county regarding filing a warrant for harassment and/or stalking. Please keep in mind though that this would be a criminal matter and your burden of proof would be greater. You would have to meet the elements of the crime and a DA should be able to help you through this. I believe the content of the communication is what needs to be looked at. Good Luck! Audrey

Q: How do I get my kids back when my parents have permanent guardianship?

Audrey’s answer: I would need to look at the document that you say that you signed. You state that you “signed over custody” to your parents. Did you actually give them Custody or did you make them the Guardians? There is a BIG difference in how to undo this. If your parents have custody, you have to file a Petition to Modify and Change Custody. If you signed a Guardianship over to them there are steps you can take to rescind it. The facts are very important in your case. I would also need to know if you signed the paperwork while in Georgia and then your parents moved to Tennessee or if the paperwork was signed in Tennessee and you moved to Georgia. Lastly, I would have to know how long your children have been living in Tennessee. Generally speaking six (6) months would make Tennessee the children’s home state for UCCJEA purposes. You should pay an attorney for a Legal Consultation to go over in detail the facts of your case and the governing law on this issue. Good Luck! Audrey

Q: My ex-spouse is using my alimony+child support to pay her legal fees for another case not ours can i stop the payments legally?

Audrey’s answer: There are four kinds of alimony in Tennessee. I do not know what kind of alimony you are paying. If it is rehabilitative alimony or alimony in futuro, then you may be able to modify it. If it is Transitional it is not modifiable unless there were conditions in the final divorce decree. If it is in solido it is not modifiable unless agreed upon by the parties. So, you need to discuss with an attorney what type of alimony you are ordered to pay and whether it is even modifiable.

Q: Does the divorce process have to start over after the MDA is no longer valid?

Audrey’s answer: The 180 day rule is – Waiver of Service is valid for a period of one hundred eighty (180) days from the date the last party signs the agreement. T.C.A. 36-4-103. So, if the Complaint for Divorce was never served on the Defendant and the MDA states that Service is waived this rule applies. If, the Defendant was Served, than this rule does not apply because they did not Waive Service. You need to check to see if the Defendant was served and then check the date of the last signature on the MDA. If it expires, then you will need to sign another one.

Q: Is an Appeal and a Motion to Set Aside MDA and Final Divorce Decree the same thing?

Audrey’s answer: An Appeal and a Motion to Set Aside an MDA and Final Divorce Decree are NOT the same thing. A Motion to Set Aside is filed at the Trial Court pursuant to the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure. When an MDA is signed it is contractual in nature and a way to rescind the contract is to raise contractual defenses such as fraud, duress, and lack of capacity. An Appeal is to the Appellate Court and that court would review the Trial Court’s ruling to see if the Trial Court made a mistake.

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