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JD, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1335
Experience:  Over 11 years in practice as a litigator ... civil and criminal
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I am a 46-year old male, married for 21 years with two boys

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I am a 46-year old male, married for 21 years with two boys ages 16 and 12, living in Nashville, TN. Recently my wife (43 years old) is questioning whether or not she wants to be married - the product of what, by all appearances, is a mid-life crisis. I would like to know what happens if she decides to leave. I would like to have full custody of both kids. What happens to our property (home we own and live in, and a duplex rental property)? We are all currently covered by her employers insurance. Does that continue for all? Just for the boys? If she leaves us, is there any alimony paid by either side?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  INFOLAWYER replied 5 years ago.
What do you want to accomplish?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I want custody. I want the property, and I want her to have to pay if anyone's paying anything. I'm not asking much, right? But if she's walking for no good reason, she should go empty-handed to find her new life.
Expert:  INFOLAWYER replied 5 years ago.
I am going to opt and open this question.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I guess my real query is this: What are my custodial and financial rights in this situation?
Expert:  JD replied 5 years ago.

I am very sorry for your situation. I highly recommend you urge her to enter marital counseling. Hopefully you two can mend the fences.


Tennessee has both a no fault and fault option when seeking divorce. However, a no fault divorce must be uncontested and based upon irreconcilable differences. If both parties do not agree to the divorce then one party must proceed and prove fault on the other party in order to achieve a divorce. Although I have seen divorce lawsuits successfully defended (the divorce was not granted), it is a rare occasion when someone petitions for a divorce and is not granted one.


If the courts are left to decide every issue then you can expect a fairly even divide of the children's time between parents. This assumes the children wish to spend equal time with each parent, each parent has been equally involved in the children's' lives, and that such an arrangement is in their best interests. Tennessee uses a best interests of the child standard of review. Child support will be determined (even with an equal custody split) using a standard formula that takes into account the respective earnings of each party. You can probably count on her insurance continuing to cover the children... but not you.


The courts will divide property as evenly as possible between the parties. This means that the courts will split evenly every asset that can be split and will then make an equitable divide of the remaining assets that cannot be evenly divided. For example, you may be awarded the marital residence (with $200,000 equity) and your wife may then be awarded her undivided retirement savings ($100,000 total value) and the family vacation home ($100,000 equity) to offset the value of the marital residence. Fault plays no role in the determination of asset division in Tennessee divorces.


Alimony is possible in a divorce action but is not very common in Tennessee unless one party has been the primary earning source while the other party sacrificed their earning capacity to care for the parties' children. In that scenario the courts will frequently award a rehabilitative alimony amount to help the disadvantaged spouse rebuild their earning capacity. Also, if one spouse suffered a disability or had no ability to rehabilitate their earning capacity then a more permanent alimony may be established.


Obviously you need to consult a good local attorney and prepare yourself for any eventuality. There are several things that need to be done before the filing of a divorce to preserve an advantage in the case. So don't wait until she files... get a lawyer now.


Here is a pretty good summary of divorce law in Tennessee.


Please reply if I can help further.



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JD, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 1335
Experience: Over 11 years in practice as a litigator ... civil and criminal
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