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Knoxville, Tennessee Family Law Blog

Important steps to make the divorce process less painful

Most people getting married in Tennessee never envision having to deal with a divorce at some point in the future when saying, "I do." Even so, there are times when circumstances eventually change. All decisions that will need to be made during this process can have serious financial, legal and emotional impacts. While any divorce can be stressful, there are some steps that may make things less painful for everyone involved.

It's recommended for anyone getting a divorce to clearly know what they want and need and what's not all that essential. Understanding what the other spouse wants can also give a lawyer a better idea of where to start with negotiation attempts. Since divorce is a legal proceeding, there are state laws that will play a role in how marital assets are divided. This is especially true with a high net worth divorce where there may be questions over what's owned separately and what's considered joint property.

Gay adoption basics

Individuals who are in same-sex relationships are generally allowed to adopt children. As with any other potential adoption in Tennessee, it would need to be determined that approving an application is in a child's best interest. To that end, a representative of the court will likely do a home check. It is important to be as honest as possible during the check.

Those who are found to have lied or omitted crucial information may be seen as committing fraud and have their request to adopt denied. For instance, a couple should be upfront about their relationship even if they fear that being honest about their homosexuality could harm their chances of adopting. It is important to note that no credible study has found that children who are raised by same-sex parents will be negatively affected.

Top 3 reasons for the end of a marriage

A 2001 study conducted by a group of Oklahoma researchers revealed three specific reasons for divorce that ranked higher than any other reason in the survey. The researchers surveyed over 2,000 people and asked the divorcees among them what their major reasons for divorcing were.

Here are the top three reasons the survey participants cited for their divorces:

Law Office of Lisa Collins Werner Recognized AIOFLA Two Years Top 10

Knoxville residents might be interested in learning that the Law Office of Lisa Collins Werner was recently named as being among the Two Years 10 Best Law Firms by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys. This award is given to recognize the law firms that are considered to be among the top 10 firms in family law in their states.

The law firm received the award in recognition of the satisfaction of its clients. Law firms that are recognized by the third-party rating organization must meet the rigorous selection criteria and must be nominated by their peers or clients for inclusion. According to the AIOFLA, the service and support that attorneys provide for their clients are of utmost importance. The Law Office of Lisa Collins Werner has been recognized for the service that it provides for its clients.

Adoptive parents may need to meet certain criteria

In Tennessee, a person who is at least 18 years old can adopt regardless of their relationship status. Those who are married may be allowed to adopt on their own if their spouse is not competent to do so. Stepparents may adopt a spouse's child after getting married to the other parent. Furthermore, an individual is generally allowed to adopt a child regardless of his or her sexual orientation. However, some states allow sexual orientation to be considered as part of the adoption process.

Some states require that an individual who wishes to adopt be a resident of the state where the adoption is taking place. Depending on where the adoption takes place, a person may need to have lived in the state for up to one year prior to it occurring. Exceptions may be made for those who are adopting a child with special needs. A person is generally considered to live wherever his or her permanent residence is located.

How biological parents may consent to adoption

In most cases, it is necessary to obtain consent from biological parents before a child can be placed for adoption. One exception to this need for consent is if the parents' parental rights have been terminated by the court.

In Tennessee, there is a three-day waiting period following a child's birth before the parents can give consent for adoption. Parents may revoke the consent within a limited time period. One reason unmarried fathers may want to make sure they have established their paternity rights is that if they do not, they might waive their rights to consent. Unmarried fathers may want to look into what other rights and responsibilities they have concerning paternity.

What to know about a foreign adoption

Tennessee residents who wish to adopt have the option of picking a child from a foreign country. In such a scenario, the adoptive parent or parents would need to follow the laws and procedures of that country. The Department of State can provide information as to what these laws and procedures are. Furthermore, someone who wishes to adopt a child must meet requirements created by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Before a child can come to the United States, he or she must be given a visa to do so. This can be done by living abroad with a child for a period of two years. It can also be done by showing that the child is an orphan who has been adopted or will be adopted by American parents.

Divorce agreement: when every word counts

When a marriage ends in divorce, the court order that makes it final covers every single detail. An important case which we recently won on behalf of our client shows that there are times when every single word counts.

In Tennessee, a divorce is finalized with a Marital Dissolution Agreement (MDA). Our client came to us with an MDA already in hand that was very unfavorable to him in many ways. It was also poorly written, which is how we were able to make a case for him and ultimately win.

Courts use best interests of child in adoption hearings

People in Tennessee who wish to adopt a child must go before a court to legally acquire parental rights to the child. Prospective parents might work with an adoption agency or independently arrange for an adoption. Similar to custody determinations in divorce cases, courts apply the best interests of the child standard when reviewing adoption petitions.

A formal petition to the court initiates the scheduling of an adoption hearing. This petition, at a minimum, must include vital details such as the names, ages, and residence of the adoptive parents. The relationship of the adoptive parents to the child must be described along with the reasons that make the adoption beneficial to the child. The petition will present information intended to show that the people are an appropriate choice to fill the role of parents.

How to adopt a child

A Tennessee resident may be able to become a parent even if that person didn't have a role in creating a child. The adoption process allows individuals throughout the country the opportunity to provide a permanent home to a young person who needs one. Adoptions can occur privately, through an agency or after a child has been fostered by an individual. In most cases, a home visit is the first step toward becoming an adoptive parent.

This check will determine if an individual can provide an environment that is safe and suitable for a child. Whether a prospective parent lives in a home or apartment, it should have enough space for the child to play and will ideally have multiple bedrooms. In addition to looking into where the child will live, an applicant is usually subject to a background check prior to the adoption being approved.

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Law Office of Lisa Collins Werner 9724 Kingston Pike, Suite 1101 Knoxville, TN 37922 Phone: 865-973-9286 Fax: 865-691-0025 Knoxville Law Office Map

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