Whether you made the decision to seek a divorce, your spouse made the decision, or you mutually agreed that the marriage is over, the process of divorce can be painful for everyone involved. The most important step you can take once divorce becomes inevitable is to retain the services of an experienced Tennessee divorce attorney. Ideally, your divorce will be amicable; however, even then you need to ensure that your rights and best interests are protected. Once you have retained an attorney, you will need to have a lengthy consultation with him/her to discuss the divorce process in general and details of your divorce specifically. Be prepared to potentially be uncomfortable at that meeting. In order to best represent you and your best interests, your divorce attorney will likely ask you some difficult questions that you need to answer truthfully. The following five questions are examples of things your attorney may need to know.
- Were you faithful? Was your spouse faithful? Like most states, the State of Tennessee is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning a petitioner is not required to prove fault on the part of a spouse in order to get divorced. Adultery, therefore, need not be alleged, much less proven, for the divorce to move forward. It can, however, have an impact on other issues within the divorce, such as custody of minor children or division of marital assets. If you squandered marital assets on a mistress, for example, it could directly affect how a judge decides to divide the remaining marital assets.
- Was there any domestic violence or abuse in your marriage? If the answer to this question is “yes,” you may be very reluctant to answer it whether you were the abuser or the victim; however, it is imperative that your divorce attorney know the answer. Abuse within the home is a factor that can, and usually is, considered when deciding issues relating to the children, such as custody and parenting time.
- Have you been truthful on your tax returns? This is often a round about way of asking whether you have money or assets hidden overseas or anywhere else. If you do, and your spouse knows about it, there is a very good chance it will come up in the divorce, particularly if the divorce is contentious. If you are not the spouse that hid the assets, but you know they exist, that information can be a bargaining tool when discussing a Marital Settlement Agreement. Finally, if you have reason to believe that your spouse got creative with a tax return to which you signed your name, you definitely need to let your divorce attorney know as you could be held liable for any tax debt your spouse may incur as a result unless you address the possibility in the divorce.
- How is your relationship with your children? Before you offer the standard “it’s great” response, take a minute to really think about the question and answer honestly. If custody of your children is a contested issue in the divorce, your relationship with them, as well as your spouse’s, will be considered when deciding who will have primary custody of them.
- What is your current financial situation? Money and assets are always and issue in a divorce. Despite knowing this, people often evade questions about their current financial situation when asked by their own attorney. Your attorney needs to have as much information as possible about your overall financial situation because it impacts so many areas of your divorce. If your spouse worked while you stayed home with the children, for example, your attorney needs to know that you essentially have no way to support yourself post-divorce so that your attorney can request spousal support on your behalf.
Although you may be uncomfortable answering these questions, and others like them, it is imperative that you do answer them truthfully to ensure that your divorce attorney has all the information he/she needs to protect you and your rights in the divorce.
Contact a Tennessee Divorce Attorney
If you have additional questions or concerns about a divorce in the State of Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible. Contact the team at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.