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Tennessee Family Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Family Law and Child Custody for Tennessee on
Q: my husband is a registered sex offender against a child under the age of 13 can he still take custody of our children?
Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills answered on Sep 23, 2019

Custody is decided upon a lot of different factors. In theory, the answer could be yes. Practically? Probably not. But you should consult an attorney to assess your particular situation to make that determination. Without knowing more about your kids and circumstances, no one on a forum can give... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Divorce and Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: Can I get an Agreed Divorce in TN with no lawyer, if I own a home only in my name and my husband does NOT want it?

In Tennessee, you can get a simple agreed divorce, if you meet the requirements. One of the requirements is as follows:

•You don’t own buildings or land or a business together or have retirement benefits;

We meet all of the other requirements, but I'm not sure about this one. I... Read more »

Leonard Robert Grefseng
Leonard Robert Grefseng answered on Sep 17, 2019

Yes, you can get an agreed divorce without a lawyer, even if you own real property, but this is almost always an area of dispute ( since it is usually the parties biggest investment). Although your husband may not want the house, he may change his mind if he finds out he might be entitled to some... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: How do I gain guardianship of my mother with Alzheimer's and dementia?

My mother does not have a p.o.a. shes recently been diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer's. Her bills are not getting paid. She's not eating. She refuses help and meals on wheels. I don't have the income to pay for court costs, how do I take over so she's financially safe and gets the care she... Read more »

Leonard Robert Grefseng
Leonard Robert Grefseng answered on Sep 13, 2019

You do not have to spend your money- the cost of a "conservatorship" should be paid from her assets. You will need a sworn statement/affidavit from her doctor confirming the diagnosis of dementia but also stating the doctor's opinion as to whether she can manage her own affairs ( do this first... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: I turn 18 in october, but i’m still in high school. Can i legally move out in the state of Tennessee when i turn 18?
Leonard Robert Grefseng
Leonard Robert Grefseng answered on Sep 10, 2019

At age 18, any person is considered an adult in Tennessee ( except for the purchase or consumption of alcohol, for which the minimum age is 21).

The real issue, which is not stated in your question, is whether you should move out: do you have the maturity and resources to live...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: Is a 17 year old in Tennessee allowed to leave home against his parents wishes? Not moving out, just visiting friends.
Leonard Robert Grefseng
Leonard Robert Grefseng answered on Sep 9, 2019

No, until a minor reaches the age of majority ( 18) they are subject to parental authority.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: Can I move my daughter out of state? I am unmarried and recently split with my boyfriend/her father. There was no prenup

I have no support and no family in Tennessee. My nearest family is in Indiana. I want to leave but he threatens to report me for kidnapping. What should I do

Leonard Robert Grefseng
Leonard Robert Grefseng answered on Sep 5, 2019

If there has never been a formal court action to confirm paternity, you, as the mother have sole custody. It is not 'kidnapping" to relocate, but I suggest you check with a lawyer in both Indiana and Tennessee first: you need to collect child support for this child so you need legal advice to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Civil Rights for Tennessee on
Q: A friend of mine from Tennessee is getting married by me in the state of missouri. I'm seeking legal information

I am ordained through the ULC and have performed weddings before. Apparently her state does not recognize the ULC. My question is will that be a problem since she is getting married in a state that does recognize the ULC? The lisence is from Tennessee.

Kimberly K. Schreiber
Kimberly K. Schreiber answered on Aug 30, 2019

Where is the marriage license from?

1 Answer | Asked in Adoption and Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: Can the stepmom of my children adopt my children without serving me papers. Or can lies being told make it happen???

It is a complex case and I am looking for a lawyer that cares and will fight this case like it is their own children. I need a good lawyer!!!

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Aug 30, 2019

Apparently your parental rights were terminated. You may be able to set aside that and the adoption, but it sounds like it might be too late. Possibly you were denied due process notice. Hire a competent attorney to find out what happened first, then decide what to do.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Tennessee on
Q: Would the courts go back and use texts and pictures 4 years back

4 years ago I got custody of my granddaughter due to my daughter getting in trouble, the other grandmother was on the order to help me while I work on Saturday, it lasted not even 6 weeks. When my daughter got out of jail. The other grandmother stop helping me so with my daughter couldn’t be... Read more »

Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills answered on Aug 28, 2019

Depends on if the proffered evidence is admissible. Consult local counsel for advice.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: My daughter had a baby girl out of wedlock in 2012 in TN. The father was affirmed with a paternity test and His name is

On her BC. The parents are no longer together and my daughter got a TN court order of custody. The father has always lived in GA and still does. My daughter has married and now lived in GA. Is her TN custody order legal in GA?

Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills answered on Aug 28, 2019

The TN order would govern until a GA court took over regarding any disputes assuming the jurisdiction requirements have been met.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: If a man abandons his children and leaves to Norway what can be done to him
Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills answered on Aug 28, 2019

What are you trying to ask? Do you want a divorce? Child support? A custody order? Depending on what you would like to accomplish, the answer would change. I suggest consulting with a local family law attorney to discuss options.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: Ex wife upset with verbal agreement that we made years ago. What are my options?

Live in Tennessee. Had uncontested divorce with verbal arrangements. She filed both kids on taxes and I got them every weekend. Kind of equaled out support payments that were drawn up standard. Recently she has gotten off drugs and on antidepressants and seeing a psychiatrist. Now the agreement is... Read more »

Leonard Robert Grefseng
Leonard Robert Grefseng answered on Aug 27, 2019

You ARE in danger of getting hit with back pay- the Courts, in my experience, do not honor "verbal agreements" which contradict or vary the court orders. The Courts will indeed, go by the Court orders. This situation is far too complex to try to resolve in this question/answer format. Consult an... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Child Support for Tennessee on
Q: My daughter is pregnant and unmarried. She lives in Bradley County, Tennessee and he lives in Walker County, GA. He will

still be in high school when the baby is born. My daughter is in college. She will be living with my husband and I. We are stable and able to help her financially with the bab . My question is since he is still in high school would it be who of her to establish a custody agreement prior to the baby... Read more »

Leonard Robert Grefseng
Leonard Robert Grefseng answered on Aug 14, 2019

In Tennessee, I do not think it's possible to establish "custody" of an unborn child. Think about that- who else can have custody of an unborn child? Additionally, Tennessee law no longer favors the use of the word "custody" - the preferred term is "primary residential parent." Once the child is... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Adoption and Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: How can I adopt my former step children in Tennessee? They are adults.
Leonard Robert Grefseng
Leonard Robert Grefseng answered on Aug 13, 2019

This is not something a layperson can do without an attorney. An adult can be adopted ( of course, they must consent). Like an legal proceeding, it begins with preparing and filing with the clerk of the court a written petition ( request) for adoption, giving the required notice, and scheduling a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Tennessee on
Q: Can I overturn a verdict based on the service of process. Hearing stated my whereabouts were unknown.

Emergency custody hearing.

Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills answered on Aug 12, 2019

The timeline of events is important. An attorney would need much more information to evaluate your case and determine your options. Consult with a local attorney asap to determine your rights.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: I have been verbally assaulted by my partner's ex wife multiple times in front of their children

They are going through a custody battle and she has yelled at me and cursed at me multiple times in front of their children as well as other members of the community. Do I have grounds for harassment charges?

Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills answered on Aug 12, 2019

On that limited factual basis, no.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Child Support for Tennessee on
Q: If my son's father is paying child support but there is no custody order at all, can I move from tennessee to florida?
Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills answered on Aug 12, 2019

It is possible. You must comply with the statutes regarding relocation including given the proper notice. See, e.g., TCA 36-6-108. You would be wise to consult with a local attorney first to make sure you do it correctly.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: What is the benefit of being named the primary residential parent in TN, when a parenting plan is 50/50?
Leonard Robert Grefseng
Leonard Robert Grefseng answered on Aug 8, 2019

You are correct from your question that equal parenting time ( and joint decision making) render the designation of "primary" as of little substantive value. However, I understand in some areas, the local school board will look to the designation to determine which school zone to apply, and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Adoption, Child Custody, Child Support and Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: In tennessee can a women sign as the father on a birth certificate when the child is born?

Will they get the "fathers" last name and rights to the child?

Leonard Robert Grefseng
Leonard Robert Grefseng answered on Aug 7, 2019

Only the father can sign a V.A.P. ( voluntary acknowledgement of Paternity). If not signed by the father at the time of birth, the only way to established parentage for a child born out of wedlock is for either parent to file paternity proceedings and have DNA testing done.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: My father is on his death bed. He got married. He wants to get it annulled but doesn’t have that kind of time.

What can we do to keep her from the money? Can we get in annulled faster?

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Aug 6, 2019

Annullment is not an option in Tennessee. And just filing divorce on grounds of fault does not get a divorce. Hire a competent attorney for your Father to start transferring assets now. Life Estate/Remainder Deeds and/or Trusts might be good options for some more important assets. But it must... Read more »

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