Domestic Relations

The Baer Firm provides comprehensive representation in domestic relations and family law matters in the Memphis area and throughout Tennessee.  Our attorneys have extensive experience assisting clients with ensuring their rights and assets are protected in divorces, property division, child custody disputes, and alimony and child support arrangements.

Divorce

The divorce and family law attorneys at The Baer Firm understand that clients involved in domestic legal disputes are under tremendous emotional pressure.  Our attorneys assist clients in approaching divorce in the manner most suited to their situation.  We sit down with our clients and review the important aspects of their marriage, explain legal options and how the divorce process works, and ensure that all their questions are answered so they can make informed decisions.  We provide negotiation and mediation services, and take cases to trial when it serves the best interests of our client and is necessary to protect their rights.  We hold our clients' matters confidential and treat them with dignity and respect, giving them the personal attention they deserve.  Divorce can be painful, and ideally the legal process should not add to that pain.  The attorneys at The Baer Firm work diligently to resolve divorces in a manner that meets our clients' needs best, while considering the impact of divorce on families and children. 

In Tennessee either spouse can file a petition for divorce with the court.  If you are contemplating divorce or your spouse has filed for divorce, don't hesitate to contact us to discuss how we can help you. 

Property Division

Property division is often complicated and subject to dispute.  Tennessee courts follow traditional common law rules for property division.  Tennessee Code Annotated, §36-4-121 instructs judges to divide "marital property" in an equitable manner.  However, by statute, fault "shall not" be considered in the division of marital property.  Marital property is property obtained by either or both spouses during the marriage.  If you have concerns regarding potential issues pertaining to property division, come to our offices to obtain additional information.

Child Custody

Under Tennessee Code Annotated, §36-6-101, the court should not presume that one type of custody arrangement is better than another.  Instead, the court must consider whatever is in the best interest of the children.  Issues involving custody can be one of the most stressful and emotional issues in family law, affecting parents and children alike.  You do not have to be divorcing to need the services of an experienced family law attorney; the same custody and visitation laws that apply to divorcing parents also apply to couples who were never married.  In Tennessee most parents share responsibility in making important decisions about their child's education, health care, and religious upbringing.  Often, one parent will be awarded primary physical custody while the other will receive specified parenting time.  A parenting plan ordered by the court combines the traditional concepts of "child custody and visitation" into a document that specifies "parenting time," naming the parent who has physical responsibility for each child on specified days.

Parental Rights

Under Tennessee law, unless the court finds otherwise, non-custodial biological parents have the following rights:

  1. The right to unimpeded telephone conversations with the child at least twice a week at reasonable times and for reasonable durations;
  2. The right to send mail to the child which the other parent shall not open or censor;
  3. The right to receive notice and relevant information as soon as practicable but within twenty-four (24) hours of any event of hospitalization, major illness, or death of the child;
  4. The right to receive directly from the child's school, upon written request which includes a current mailing address and upon payment of reasonable costs of duplicating, copies of the child's report cards, attendance records, names of teachers, class schedules, standardized test scores and any other records customarily made available to parents;
  5. The right to receive copies of the child's medical records directly from the child's doctor or other health care provider, upon written request which contains a current mailing address and upon payment of reasonable costs of duplication;
  6. The right to be free of derogatory remarks made about such parent or such parent's family by the other parent to or in the presence of the child;
  7. The right to be given at least a forty-eight (48) hour notice, when possible, to participate in or observe the child's extracurricular school activities, athletic, church, and other such activities;
  8. The right to receive from the other parent an itinerary with telephone numbers for emergency use whenever the other parent leaves the state with the child;
  9. Reasonable access to the child at school for lunch and other activities on the same basis that such access is provided to all other parents.

We typically resolve child custody and visitation disputes through negotiation or mediation.  However, if the parties involved cannot fashion a workable parenting plan, we will take the case to court where we have proven to be extremely successful in the past.  If your case requires litigation, we will aggressively present the same, however, we are also students of child development.  We care about our clients' children and keep abreast of what experts say is best for them.  The current philosophy is that a positive environment is more important to the healthy development of children than a two-parent household.  Stated otherwise, staying in a bad relationship for the sake of the children may do a disservice to both the adults and the children involved.  Our goal is to help our clients promptly establish, modify and enforce appropriate child custody and visitation arrangements so that they can rebuild their lives in a manner that minimizes the negative impact to children. 

Modification, Post-Divorce, and Relocation Issues

Tennessee courts retain jurisdiction of the child custody and visitation arrangements in the event of a change in circumstances.  Parenting plans can be modified for a number of reasons and are often brought back to court when there is drug or alcohol abuse by a parent, abusive behavior by a step-parent or step-sibling, death or illness of a parent, or illness of a child.  If you or your child's other parent is planning to move outside of Tennessee, or within the state but more than 100 miles away, you should contact a lawyer to ensure that you follow the necessary procedure to obtain parental relocation approval from the court.

Our goal is to help our clients promptly establish, modify, or enforce appropriate child custody and visitation arrangements so that they can rebuild their lives in a manner that minimizes the negative impact to children.  To arrange a consultation, please contact our law firm today.

Alimony and Child Support

Child support and alimony are used to make sure families are financially whole after a divorce or the end of a relationship involving children.  At The Baer Firm our attorneys represent clients who need legal assistance establishing, enforcing, or modifying child support and alimony arrangements. 

Child Support

Tennessee law recognizes that the best interest of the child is served when both parents are involved in meeting his or her emotional and financial needs.  The law in Tennessee has changed in recent years to track a growing national trend in calculating the child support obligation considering the income of both parents.  The present law in Tennessee takes into account a number of factors including the amount of time each parent spends with the child, the income levels of each parent, the total number of children of each parent, as well as special expenses including but not limited to tuition, day care, health care, etc.  Although our courts now rely upon a worksheet created by the Tennessee Department of Human Services in the calculation of child support, as with all calculations, the quality of the result depends on the quality of the numbers put into the formula.  Our lawyers are familiar with every nuance of the child support guidelines and will make certain the amount of support you pay or are paid will be fair. 

Spousal Support

The Tennessee statutes regarding alimony, also called family support or spousal support, are more ambiguous and leave more room for interpretation than do the child support guidelines.  Our attorneys make compelling arguments on behalf of clients who seek to receive the maximum possible amount of alimony as well for those who want to minimize their alimony obligation.  Alimony is a regular payment that one ex-spouse must make to the other after a divorce.  Alimony is not awarded in every case, however, if the parties are involved in a long term marriage, or if one spouse is making substantially more money than the other, there is usually some form of alimony awarded.  The court can order a number of different types of alimony such as Transitional Alimony, which would support one's ex-spouse while he or she relocates and/or transitions into the workforce; Alimony in Solido, a one-time lump sum payment that could be from the disposition of a marital asset; Alimony in Futuro, monthly payments until death or remarriage; and Rehabilitative, temporary alimony while one spouse attends classes or training to increase earning potential.  There are many factors that go into alimony decisions and an experienced family law attorney can help you sort through them. Tax treatment for different types of alimony is not the same and tax questions or concerns should be addressed by your tax consultant or accountant.  Like parenting time, the courts retain jurisdiction to modify both child support and potentially alimony in the event of a substantial change in circumstances and/or income.  To discuss your concern over child support or alimony, please contact our law firm today.

Seek Experienced Legal Representation

At The Baer Firm, we take pride in assisting clients through difficult times in their lives.  In domestic relations matters, we work with you to achieve your goals and ensure your rights and assets are being protected. 



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