After all these years of practicing family law in Tennessee, I can say that I’ve heard a lot of similar questions. But there are a few questions that clients don’t always think to ask that I wish they would have, because it could have saved them a lot of heartache and aggravation. So rather than give you answers to questions that you might have already heard, I wanted to address some of the issues that you forgot to ask along the way.
Can I date while I’m getting divorced?
Separating the lives of two people who have sworn to be together until death parts them is almost always a messy, emotional process that can take longer than you think. In the process people get lonely and in their eagerness to put a bad chapter behind them and begin a new one, they may be tempted to turn to a new partner while they are still going through a divorce.
So, the short answer is, no. I always tell people that it is never a good idea to start dating until after your divorce is final.
Tennessee is a fault state, so dating while your divorce is still in process can be construed as adultery because that is exactly what it is.
How long must I wait after my divorce to remarry?
In Tennessee you must wait at least 30 days after the date of the final divorce decree, just in case there is some aspect of the divorce that your spouse wishes to appeal. Until a final judgement has been entered, you are still married under the law and not free to marry again.
What happens if I get caught trying to hide assets in my divorce?
When you disclose your financial information to the court during the divorce proceedings, you are doing so under oath and under penalty of contempt if you purposefully give misleading or incomplete information. When your spouse’s attorney finds those hidden, offshore accounts that you thought were “below the radar” you could be held in contempt of court.
I think I’m pretty smart (at least, I’m smarter than my spouse’s attorney); why shouldn’t I just represent myself in the divorce?
Do you know how to divide an executive compensation package? Do you have experience working out child custody arrangements and calculating child support payments? If you or your spouse owns a business, would you know how to accurately value it and divide the value equitably? These are just preliminary issues that you will have to face in a divorce. You will be going up against a lawyer who handles divorces every day for a living, so unless the two of you have a good enough relationship to agree on every single point, then you would do well to protect your interests and hire a competent divorce attorney.
What is the best advice for people going through a divorce?
Be willing to compromise and don’t let your emotions cloud your judgement. I am not saying that you should roll over on every point and allow yourself to be taken advantage of. Divorces descend into bitter battles because neither party is willing to give an inch of ground. Think of it this way: the lower the level of conflict in a divorce, the less expensive. Be the one to go first and behave in a civil manner and you will both benefit in the long run.
I am an experienced family law attorney serving clients from my office locations in Maryville and Franklin. When you have questions about divorce, you can rely on straightforward answers from me. Please contact my law firm – Kevin W. Shepherd, Attorney at Law – to find out how I can help you today.