Experienced Knoxville Divorce Attorneys Representing Clients Just Like You
Sound, smart legal advice for divorce matters across Tennessee
Ending your marriage isn’t a decision you make in the spur of the moment. Often, it comes after a lot of heartache, a lot of talking, and finally, the painful realization that your disputes and disagreements cannot be resolved. The legal process should not add salt to your wounds.
But that’s what is feels like, doesn’t it? Like you’re getting kicked when you’re already down. Bad enough that your “better or worse” ended up in the “or worse” column; now you’re worried that you could lose your retirement account, or that your ex is going to take the house you raised your children in.
While no attorney can take all the pain and worry out of your divorce, we aim to do the next best thing: get you a good night’s sleep, so you can wake up ready for another day. At LaFevor & Slaughter, our goal is to help you start your new life with your best foot forward. We do that by making sure we respect you, your case, your time – and your money. You can trust us to keep the lights on late, so you don’t have to.
What do y’all do as divorce lawyers?
Lots of things, really, but mostly we try to get you through the divorce process in one piece with your assets and sanity intact.
Our Knoxville divorce attorneys work for you
Most folks are familiar with the expression, “We can do this the easy way, or we can do it the hard way.” And if your spouse is trying your patience like a cat without its tail huh?, you might want to go the hard way – but it won’t do you much good in the end.
So what’s the easy way? If you and your spouse can reach agreement on the major issues connected to your divorce – like alimony, child custody or visitation, child support and property distribution – you can negotiate a settlement agreement and file for uncontested divorce.
Choosing your reason to get divorced in Knoxville
In Tennessee, when you file for divorce you can declare what they call “grounds” for divorce, which implies fault, or you can go for a no-fault divorce.
When you file for grounds, you’re saying someone did something that caused y’all to break up. Tennessee has a list of what those things are:
- The inability to procreate
- The wife being pregnant by another man without the knowledge of the husband at time of the marriage
- Desertion or absence without reasonable cause for a year
- Abandonment (or pushed the spouse from the home for no good cause without support)
- Criminal conviction that “renders the party infamous” or a felony that lands your spouse in prison
- Attempting to kill your spouse
- Refusal to move to Tennessee with your spouse for two years without reasonable cause
- “Habitual drunkenness or abuse of narcotic drugs” contracted after marriage
- “Inappropriate marital conduct” sometimes called cruel and inhumane behavior
- Living apart for at least two years, provided you do not have children under the age of 18
- Living under the terms of a legal separation order for two or more years without reconciling.
No-fault divorce blames “irreconcilable differences” for your split. You or your spouse (depending on who files) can say “Yeah, I agree” and sign a settlement agreement: easy-peasy. If they refuse to sign, you’re likely now dealing with a contested divorce – a fancy way of saying that two folks can’t agree on something.
If this is what you’re scared about – fighting with your spouse over every little thing – we have your back. Often, we can talk some sense into your spouse’s attorney so that everyone just calms down a bit, and you can reach an agreement that works for you. When we can’t, though, we’ll fight like two bobcats looking at the last rabbit in the nest.
Will I be able to get alimony in my divorce?
Alimony, or spousal support, is never guaranteed for either spouse. But generally, courts order alimony when one spouse has the ability to pay and the other spouse needs financial support. Tennessee has four different types of alimony, with various factors determining whether or not the court will award it. Your Knoxville divorce attorney will advise you about your particular options.
My divorce is still in process, but I need financial support right now!
If your spouse has filed for divorce and moved out of the house, you might be in a panic trying to figure out how you will handle all the expenses on your own. Relief is available – your attorney can file a motion for Pendente Lite Relief (Latin for “pending the litigation”), which is temporary spousal and or child support. The court may assign your spouse to pay pendente lite support while your divorce works its way through the court system.
My spouse and I have a business. How will the court divide it in our divorce?
Tennessee follows the equitable distribution model for dividing property and assets. Only marital assets (and not separate property) are subject to division, so the court might first determine whether the business is a separate or marital asset. You should note that even if one spouse started the business prior to the marriage, the other spouse may have some financial interest in it. Dividing business assets in divorce is complicated. Our attorneys can determine the value of your business and help you negotiate a fair and mutually beneficial solution.
Who gets the dog (or the cat, or the lizard, or the guinea pig) in the divorce?
While you probably think Fido is a member of your family, Tennessee law considers pets property. The best-case scenario would be if you can work out an agreement about who gets the pet, but since you are in the middle of a divorce, that might not be possible. It may come to the point of negotiating with your spouse about who gets little ol’ Fluffy, along with all the other property that will be divided in the divorce.
I’m in the military and facing divorce. What do I need to know?
Military personnel contemplating divorce face challenges due to state residency requirements and the complexity of dividing military pensions. Firm founder Jim LaFevor is a United States Army veteran, so the whole team at LaFevor & Slaughter is sensitive to the stresses of life in the service. In gratitude to our men and women in uniform, LaFevor & Slaughter offers discounts for active duty military.
Do I really need a Knoxville divorce lawyer? Can’t I just do the paperwork and stuff myself?
You are never required to hire an attorney to handle your divorce, but chances are your spouse will get one! When one of you has an attorney and the other doesn’t, one person is going to be at a distinct disadvantage throughout the entire process. Let’s make sure it’s not you. Even divorce lawyers won’t represent themselves in their own divorce action because they don’t want to have a fool for a client.
But the real reason you want an attorney is because unless you’re a lawyer, you can’t really prepare a case the way a lawyer could. It’s like asking your kid’s first grade teacher to reroof your house. Sure, she’s great at teaching your kid to count and write – but she’s not a roofer. And sure, there’s some really helpful information on the internet, but it doesn’t mean you’ll be okay if you try to do it on your own. Have you ever been a little sick and Googled your symptoms to see what you might have and then ten minutes later you’ve convinced yourself you are going to die? Trust us, your Google-fu is no match for a law degree.
How am I going to pay for a divorce lawyer?
There’s an old joke lawyers tell:
Q: Why are divorces so expensive?
A: Because they’re worth it.
Is divorce expensive? It can be. Are we the cheapest lawyers out there? No. Do you want the cheapest lawyer out there? HECK no. You get what you pay for, and that includes attorneys.
But here’s the thing: we respect your money, and the work you put into making it. So our contracts outline what we charge and when we expect to get paid. We bill for phone calls in smaller, six-minute increments, too, because if you call and we chat for five minutes, we don’t think it’s fair to charge you for an hour’s worth of work. When we think we can save you some money – either through negotiation instead of litigation, or by having a non-partner attorney handle some of the basic paperwork and filing – we’ll do that.
More stuff you can read about divorce:
Let our Knoxville divorce lawyers show you the LaFevor & Slaughter difference
Getting a divorce is challenging; choosing the right lawyer to represent you doesn’t need to be. We advocate for you throughout the entire process, and don’t stop until your divorce is resolved. To discuss your divorce options with an experienced Knoxville divorce attorney, call LaFevor & Slaughter at (865) 637-6258 or fill out our contact form. Let us help you.