Tennessee Divorce Information Center
Divorce Options in a Tennessee
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Your Divorce Options
The first thing to understand when you are facing divorce is that there are many ways to go about obtaining a divorce. Your divorce options include a “Do-It-Yourself” divorce, uncontested divorce, meditated divorce, collaborative divorce, and traditional divorce litigation. When you schedule a Divorce Planning Session with our Memphis divorce attorney, she can assist you with understanding the pros and cons of these different divorce options, so that you can intelligently decide what will work best in your situation, taking into account your goals, what’s best for your children, and your finances. During your Divorce Planning Session, you will also be provided with an overview of the divorce process, the effect of divorce on children, and information about some of the common legal, financial, psychological, and social issues of divorce. A Divorce Planning Session is an invaluable resource for people considering or going through a divorce. The divorce options that are discussed during the Divorce Planning Session, and which may be of interest to you include a “Do-It-Yourself” divorce, uncontested divorce, meditated divorce, collaborative divorce, and traditional divorce litigation. They are each discussed below.
Some people are able to discuss the divorce issues with their spouse, reach an agreement, and navigate the court system to process their divorce without the help of a divorce attorney. An obvious advantage to doing this is that it is inexpensive in one sense, however, it may be costly in another. If you and your spouse have not reached an agreement regarding all the issues concerning your divorce, then we strongly advise against you handling your own divorce. When there are retirement plans, significant assets, issues of child or spousal support, and/or disagreements regarding custody of children, proceeding without the help and guidance of an experience divorce attorney can lead to costly mistakes and/or inappropriate, or unworkable custody/parenting plans. That is why the Walls Law Firm offers Do-It-Yourself Divorce packages that include a confidential Divorce Planning Session with our experienced and knowledgeable divorce attorney to help you decide if a Do-It-Yourself Divorce is right for you, the drafting of your divorce documents, and information on how to proceed with your divorce. Our Do-It-Yourself Divorce packages are offered for an affordable flat fee. Click here to learn more about our Do-It-Yourself Divorce Packages, what is included in each package, their requirements, and their prices.
An uncontested divorce is a divorce in which both spouses agree to be divorced and have already reached an agreement regarding all issues relating to the divorce, such as the division of marital assets, division of marital debt, spousal support, child custody, parenting time, decision-making responsibility, and child support. If there are any issues in which you and your spouse are not in agreement, then you may want to consider a mediated divorce, collaborative divorce, or a litigated divorce. Uncontested divorces are typically the most cost effective and quickest method of divorcing. At the Walls Law firm we offer affordable flat fee Uncontested Divorce Packages that include a confidential Divorce Planning Session to help you decide if an uncontested divorce is right for you, the drafting of your uncontested divorce documents, filing of your divorce documents (filing fee not included), scheduling of your final uncontested hearing for divorce, and representation during your final uncontested divorce hearing. Click here to learn more about our Uncontested Divorce Packages, what is included in each package, their requirements, and their prices.
One alternative to a litigated divorce for divorcing spouses seeking to stay out of court is divorce mediation. During divorce mediation, divorcing spouses attempt to negotiate a fair and reasonable divorce settlement between themselves with the assistance of a trained, neutral divorce mediator. The divorce mediator may be an attorney, mental health professional, or someone who simply enjoys helping people resolve conflict without resorting to litigation. If the divorce mediator is a divorce attorney, the divorce mediator does not represent either spouse. Instead, the divorce mediator’s job is to attempt to facilitate good faith negotiations between you and your spouse to help you discuss the issues and find solutions in a way that you and your spouse might not be able to do on your own. If you and your spouse choose to utilize divorce mediation, it is ideal for you and your spouse to both engage the services of an independent divorce attorney to help you understand your legal options and review your mediated agreement prior to signing it. A mediated divorce is generally much less expensive than a litigated divorce; but where there is substantial bargaining inequality or where either party is uncomfortable negotiating on his/her own behalf, it may not be appropriate. At the Walls Law Firm, we offer affordable flat fee mediated divorce packages that include divorce mediation sessions with our divorce attorney acting as a mediator, the drafting of your divorce documents detailing your divorce agreement by our knowledgeable and experienced divorce attorney, the filing of your divorce documents with the court (filing fee not included), scheduling of your uncontested hearing for divorce, and representation in court during your uncontested hearing for divorce. Click here to learn more about our Mediated Divorce Packages, what is included in each package, their requirements, and their prices.
A collaborative divorce is another alternative for divorcing spouses wishing to reach a divorce settlement outside of court. A collaborative divorce, also known as collaborative law or collaborative practice, is a legal process that enables couples who have decided to divorce or separate to work with their lawyers and, on occasion, financial advisers and other family professionals, in order to avoid the expense, stress, and uncertain outcomes of divorce litigation. This enables them to reach a fair and reasonable divorce settlement that best meets the specific needs of both spouses and their children without the underlying threat of litigation.
Collaborative divorce is a voluntary process that is initiated when the divorcing spouses sign a participation agreement binding each other to the collaborative divorce process and disqualifying their respective lawyer’s right to represent them in divorce litigation. Generally, each party is represented throughout the collaborative process by their own attorney. The attorneys do not participate in contested court proceedings. Instead, the divorce attorneys focus exclusively on helping their clients understand and resolve their legal issues through cooperative negotiations. Because dispute resolution in divorce is not just about “the law”, the collaborative divorce process uses an integrated team composed of collaborative divorce attorneys, mental health professionals, and a neutral financial expert. The mental health professionals help the divorcing spouses and their children deal with personal, emotional, and parenting concerns. The neutral financial expert helps the divorcing spouses to organize data and understand the financial issues relating to their divorce. The collaborative divorce process offers more structure than divorce mediation, and may cost more, depending on circumstances. However, a collaborative divorce is generally less expensive than a litigated divorce.
A litigated divorce is the traditional legal process in which each spouse is represented by an attorney and their disputes are resolved by a courtroom judge. A litigated divorce is conducted in an adversarial atmosphere, with virtually all aspects managed by the lawyers, rules of civil procedure, rules of evidence, and local rules of the court. Advantages to a litigated divorce include formal procedural rules which can protect vulnerable parties and permit formal discovery of reliable information. However, the disadvantages of a litigated divorce tends to outweigh the advantages. Among the disadvantages are the increase in expenses, hostility between the parties, and stress. Litigation tends to increase the potential of the spouses viewing each other as adversaries. The adversarial atmosphere usually aggravates family discord and make settlement of issues more difficult. This in turn, tends to increase attorney fees and court costs. If one or both parties are unwilling or unable to negotiate cooperatively, a litigated divorce may be the only way to complete a divorce, because it provides for decisions to be made for the parties by a judge. Depending on the issues and the parties, the cost of litigation can vary considerably. Thus, it is without surprise that a litigated divorce has the potential of being the most expensive divorce option.
The Four Core Areas of Divorce
Throughout the divorce process, you will have to make many decisions that may have an immense effect on you, your finances, and your children. There are four core areas that you will have to make decisions regarding. They are child custody and visitation, child support, the division of marital property, and spousal support. Click the links below to learn more about each of the core areas of a divorce.
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