Frequently Asked Questions

If you are considering divorce, are going through a contested divorce, uncontested divorce or are facing a family law issue, you likely have many questions that an experienced divorce attorney can answer. Included are some frequently asked questions below, for your convenience. Please feel free to contact an Ellen Taylor Turley to get information regarding your specific case.

Do I really need a lawyer for my divorce or child custody case?

While you do not have to hire an attorney, it is definitely advisable that you hire an experienced family lawyer to represent you during your divorce or your child custody case. The issues surrounding these areas are often complex and delicate, and having a lawyer at your side will be extremely helpful.

What are "grounds" for divorce?

In Tennessee, the grounds for divorce are based upon the fault.  The most commonly used grounds are: (1) irreconcilable differences and (2) inappropriate marital conduct.  "Irreconcilable differences" means that the parties are unable to remain married because their problems are too difficult and cannot be resolved.  The spouses are incompatible. This is not a "no-fault" grounds and is only available to partners who sign agreements to resolve all issues.  "Inappropriate marital conduct" as a grounds requires one or both parties to be guilty of misconduct.  This is the newer and more kindly worded grounds for the older wording in the statute (which can still be used today):  "Cruel and inhuman treatment or conduct which renders cohabitation unsafe or improper."  Numerous other grounds for divorce may be used, and your attorney will customize your divorce complaint to your situation such that your divorce will be finalized easily. 

How is property divided after a divorce?

All property acquired and income earned during a marriage is subject to equitable distribution. This is a process for dispersing property acquired by or owned by either spouse upon the termination of a marriage. During equitable distribution, the courts will sort out what is considered separate property and what is marital property. Separate property (property acquired before marriage) usually remains separate and marital property (property acquired during marriage) is distributed equitably between both spouses. The courts will also take into consideration the circumstances surrounding the case and both parties.

Can I receive spousal support?

Spousal support, also referred to as alimony or maintenance, may be awarded to either spouse in a divorce, based on such factors as: the standard of living, present and future earning potential of each spouse, and the ability of each spouse to support him or herself independently in the future. Maintenance may be awarded on a permanent or temporary basis and can be awarded to either the wife or the husband.

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