Divorce & Domestic Relations

The attorneys at Rice, Amundsen, & Caperton, PLLC, work in the many facets of family law that arise from interpersonal relationships both at home and abroad. Our firm has experience in the many different aspects of divorce — domestic and international — including alimony, child custody, division of property, marriage agreements, and the myriad issues arising post divorce. Our firm also works with parties addressing interpersonal relationships outside the context of a marriage, including adoptions, grandparent visitation, prenuptial agreements and children born out of wedlock.

Grounds

Dissolution of marriage (or divorce) can be a traumatic experience, one that families often are not prepared to face alone. Spouses encountering adultery, mental cruelty, physical abuse, or even irreconcilable differences are not ready for the complex process obtaining a divorce entails. If you have children, the process can become even more complicated.

Alimony

The consideration for and award of alimony may be granted to either party by the court. Alimony may be rehabilitative alimony, alimony in solido, transitional alimony or alimony in future. Alimony awards involve complex tax issues that extend long after the divorce has been granted. Payments can be awarded periodically, or in one lump sum, and the factors for determining awards are considered before a judge determines the type, amount and length of alimony.

Child Support

Parents of minor children share an equal responsibility in the care and financial maintenance of their children, and continued support is often based on their future needs and your financial capabilities. The State of Tennessee has Child Support Guidelines that require the Court to consider both parents’ gross income, the number of days each parent has with the child and the
expenses of medical insurance, work related child care and recurring medical expenses when setting child support.

Child Custody & Parenting Plans

The courts sit as parens patriae, meaning they have the authority to determine the best interests of minor children, often overriding the wishes of the parents, if the court deems appropriate. Courts have recognized the importance of balancing time between parents to ensure frequent and continuing contact after a divorce. Courts also encourage parents to share in the responsibilities of childrearing. Crafting intricate parenting plans can be difficult in their own right, and the process if further complicated by the injection of emotion. Issues related to children can turn a divorce into a very complicated, hotly contested proceeding.

Division of Property

The division of property pursuant to a divorce can be easily accomplished so long as the parties can agree as to who gets what. Matters are often complicated, however, when it comes to dividing assets that are the result of the joint efforts of the respective parties. How the family home, joint bank accounts, retirement, stock options, or the family business will be divided can become very complex. This is particularly true if one spouse has played the role of homemaker, focusing his or her efforts on maintaining the family and home.Divorce often involves the complex valuation and division of businesses, and the valuation of possible separate property. Our attorneys have experience in working in these areas and bringing in a team of experts when the circumstances require.

Prenuptial/Postnuptial Agreements

Prenuptial (“before the marriage”) and postnuptial (“after the marriage”) agreements are contracts between spouses stipulating their rights and interests in the event of dissolution of the marriage by death, divorce, legal separation or separate maintenance. As contracts, they are subject to the basic tenements of contract law, including consideration and acceptance, interpretation, and performance. Parties are bound by the contracts they willingly enter into, and their rights can be seriously affected by the terms of the agreement.

Reconciliation Agreements

Reconciliation agreements are legal documents signed by both parties during their marriage. The parties have seriously discussed the possibility of a divorce or even filed for divorce. However, they have agreed to attempt reconciliation for a period of months. During that time, they agree not to pursue a divorce. If reconciliation is not successful, then this document is used as the agreement in the divorce proceedings. Reconciliation agreements often detail how property will be distributed, as well as indicate whether one spouse will be granted support or if a spouse has waived the right to alimony.

Marital Dissolution Agreement

Marital Dissolution Agreements are agreements entered into by the parties which divide the parties’ assets and debts and will address spousal support. Such agreements may also involve matters of health and life insurance. To obtain a divorce on irreconcilable differences grounds, the parties must enter into a Marital Dissolution Agreement.