Child Support Lawyer Memphis, TN

Parents are eligible to receive child support payments from another parent as a result of divorce. Parents can also make a request for child support in a paternity action in juvenile court. Unfortunately, many parents go through the child support process without understanding how payments are calculated.

How is Child Support Calculated?

In the state of Tennessee, guidelines are in place that help to calculate how much child support must be paid. Deviations from the guidelines may occur if the Court finds that it is in the best interests of the children.

The Tennessee guidelines require that the combined monthly gross income of both parents first be determined. This means that it is necessary to add up income from all sources from both parents. The gross income is then used to determine how much basic support the child or children will receive. This basic support amount is affected by the number of children the parents have and the number of days of parenting time with each child.

Credits are also given for other supported children, medical expenses, day care, and health insurance coverage.Once the appropriate amount of basic support is determined, each parent becomes responsible for a percentage of that support amount equal to the share of the combined family income he or she earns.

Child Support Enforcement

Child support orders in Tennessee are generally enforced by garnishing the wages of the parent who is required to pay. Wage garnishment means that when a child support order is issued, money is taken directly from the paycheck of the parent who is obligated to pay.

When this method of enforcement is not sufficient to ensure that a parent pays, there are other enforcement methods used by child support services or by the court. The court, for instance, may hold the delinquent parent in contempt. The delinquent parent may be reported to the credit bureau; may have his or her driver’s or professional license taken away; may have liens placed on property or have tax returns seized; and may sometimes face criminal charges.

Modifying Support Orders

In some cases a substantial change in circumstances will occur that will result in a need for modification of child support. At such time, parents may request that the court or child support services review the order to determine if modification is appropriate.

Tennessee has outlined rules for when modification is appropriate and specifies that modification will be granted if there is a “significant variance.”  Essentially, this means that unless there should be a 15 percent difference between the current support order and the new proposed child support modified order. As such, the new amount of support must be 15% more or less than the old amount of child support.


Wiseman Bray Attorneys

If you are in need of help with child support issues, or have other family law related questions, and need counsel to discuss family law issues, call or schedule a consultation with our family lawyer Memphis, TN attorneys at Wiseman Bray PLLC today.  Call our office at (901) 372-5003 to ask for a consultation!

Alimony Awards in Divorce: Family Law Memphis, TN

Alimony family law Memphis, TN attorneys can help you understand the types of alimony. Alimony is financial support paid by one ex-spouse to the other after the marriage has legally ended. Alimony is also referred to as spousal support. Further, parties may seek alimony during a divorce or separate maintenance claim. However, this post will focus on alimony awarded in divorce. A party’s need, and the other party’s ability to pay, are used to determine an award of alimony.

Tennessee’s Alimony Factors

Courts consider the following factors:

  1. The relative earning capacity, obligations, needs, and financial resources of each party;
  2. The relative education and training of each party;
  3. The ability and opportunity of each party to secure such education and training;
  4. The necessity of a party to secure further education and training to improve such party’s earning capacity to a reasonable level;
  5. The duration of the marriage;
  6. The age and mental condition of each party;
  7. The physical condition of each party, including, but not limited to, physical disability or incapacity due to a chronic, debilitating disease;
  8. The extent to which it would be undesirable for a party to seek employment outside the home because such party will be custodian of a minor child of the marriage;
  9. The separate assets of each party, both real and personal, tangible and intangible;
  10. The marital property division;
  11. The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage;
  12. The extent to which each party has made such tangible and intangible contributions to the marriage as monetary and homemaker contributions, and tangible and intangible contributions by a party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party;
  13. The relative fault of the parties (who is more to blame) in cases where the court, in its discretion, deems it appropriate to do so; and
  14. Such other factors, including the tax consequences to each party, as are necessary to consider the equities between the parties.

Types of Alimony

Temporary alimony can be granted while the divorce is in progress, to help until the divorce is final. When the divorce becomes final, there may or may not be an order for alimony after the divorce. If alimony after the divorce is awarded, that amount could be higher or lower than the temporary amount. In addition to the monthly amount, the type of alimony is very important. There are four types of alimony in Tennessee: alimony periodic alimony, transitional alimony, rehabilitative alimony, and lump-sum alimony. The type also dictates the circumstances that the alimony obligation may terminate or be modified.

 


Wiseman Bray Attorneys

If you are considering filing for divorce, or have other family law related questions, and need counsel to discuss family law issues, call or schedule a consultation with our family lawyer Memphis, TN attorneys at Wiseman Bray PLLC today.  Call our office at (901) 372-5003 to ask for a consultation!

Mental Health Records in Custody Proceedings

During custody proceedings, including divorce, Tennessee courts have a duty to protect the best interests of children. Courts must also respect patient privacy and encourage individuals to seek treatment. When one parent alleges that another parent has mental health issues, Courts balance the interests of the children and the privacy of parents. The Tennessee Court of Appeals addressed these concerns in the case of Culbertson v. Culbertson, 455 S.W.3d 107 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2014).

The Culbertson allegations.

The mother alleged that she should be named as the primary residential parent. The mother alleged that the father had a history of mental health issues, including depression. In response to the allegations, the father denied that he was incapable of caring for the minor children. He also agreed to submit to a mental health evaluation by a licensed psychologist. Pursuant to Tennessee law, a party can agree to a Rule 35 health evaluation.

The psychologist concluded that the father did not represent a threat of harm to his minor children. He also agreed that father should be permitted to have regular parenting time with his minor children. Not satisfied, the mother requested that the father submit to a second evaluation. Additionally, she also asked for all of his mental health records from each and every mental health professional.

The mother argued that it was necessary to have all of father’s records to challenge the findings from the first evaluation. She also argued it was necessary to demonstrate father’s mental health status to the court. Father argued that Tennessee protects the confidential records of individuals pursuant to a psychologist-patient privilege. As such, mother could not access the records.

After this, father and mother submitted to a joint evaluation by a second psychologist. During this second evaluation, the father permitted the psychologist to discuss the case with prior mental health practitioners. Ultimately, the second psychologist agreed with the conclusions of the first evaluation. Specifically, father did not represent a threat of harm to his minor children. The second evaluation concluded that father should enjoy regular time with his children. After this, mother requested all of father’s personal, confidential mental health records again.

The Court’s conclusions.

Ultimately, the Court of Appeals mostly agreed with father. Specifically, the Court of Appeals concluded that it is vital to protect the psychologist-patient privilege in Tennessee. The rationale of the Court was that individuals should be open and honest with their mental health professionals. Further, the Court reasoned that if the mother gained access to father’s records, mental health treatment would be discouraged.

The Court further reasoned that there was no need for mother to gain access because two psychologists had evaluated father. They both agreed that he did not represent a threat of harm to his minor children. As such, the submission to a Rule 35 evaluation struck a balance between the best interests of the minor children and father’s privacy. As such, if you are concerned that your spouse or a parent of your children may represent a threat of harm to your child or children, contact a family lawyer Memphis, TN trusts.


Wiseman Bray Attorneys

If you are considering filing for divorce, or have other family law related questions, and need counsel to discuss family law issues, call or schedule a consultation with our family lawyer Memphis, TN attorneys at Wiseman Bray PLLC today.  Call our office at (901) 372-5003 to ask for a consultation!

Contact a Family Lawyer Memphis, TN if Life Insurance is Changed During Divorce Proceedings

Family Lawyer Memphis, TN

Tennessee Injunctions upon Filing Divorce.

Ask a family lawyer Memphis, TN about Tennessee law, which requires these injunctions. At the time a spouse files a complaint for divorce in Memphis,  TN, a set of automatic injunctions go into place.   They prevent either of the parties from taking certain actions. The parties are prevented from making changes to life insurance policies, hiding or disposing of assets, relocating with minor children, and harassing one another. These injunctions remain in place until the divorce is final or dismissed.

Unfortunately, all too often, some parties fail to abide by these rules.  A party may, in violation of the Court’s order, change life insurance beneficiaries or dispose of an asset. There are a number of remedies the other party can seek through a family lawyer Memphis, TN in order to rectify these issues.  For example, the other party may be cited for contempt of court. These issues can have large implications for assets and life insurance policies. However, a party may die before a violation is remedied.

Remedying Violations After Death.

Fortunately, the Tennessee Supreme Court took up this very issue for the first time in Coleman v. Olson. In this case, a wife filed a complaint for divorce against her husband. She then immediately served the complaint on him, and the injunctions went into effect. Unfortunately the wife became seriously ill a week after filing for divorce. While in the hospital she changed the beneficiary from her current husband to her mother. This change violated those injunctions. Soon thereafter, the wife died, and the life insurance company paid her mother all of the proceeds.

The Court could have directed that the husband be renamed as beneficiary, if the wife was not dead. However, upon a party’s death, divorce proceedings abate, and the remaining spouse becomes a widower, not a divorcee. As such, the statutory injunctions expire at the time of a party’s death.  This leaves the Court stuck since it does not have any way to enforce the injunctions or remedy the violation. Thus, presumably the husband would have been left without a remedy.

An Equitable Solution.

The Tennessee Supreme Court concluded that trial courts continue to have the equitable power to resolve such a violation. This remains true even though the divorce proceedings end at the time of the other parties’ death. The Court is empowered to consider an equitable result. The Court may use its discretion to award the life insurance proceeds among the widower and the other potential beneficiary.

In this case, the Court would therefore have the jurisdiction to decide how the proceeds should be divided between the husband and the wife’s mother. It may be equitable for all, a portion, or none of the proceeds to go to the husband. Tennessee trials courts have the discretion to fix a violation based on the circumstances. If the Court concludes that it is more equitable for the widower to receive all of the proceeds, then it may do so. Ask a family lawyer Memphis, TN trusts regarding an equitable remedy for these situations.


Wiseman Bray Attorneys

If you are considering filing for divorce, or have other family law related questions, and need counsel to discuss family law issues, call or schedule a consultation with our family lawyer Memphis, TN attorneys at Wiseman Bray PLLC today.  Call our office at (901) 372-5003 to ask for a consultation!