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Tennessee Family Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Adoption and Child Custody for Tennessee on
Q: What legal rights does a father, who is not named on the birth certificate, have?

I am the maternal grandmother of two boys. I gained custody in 12/2016 due to drug problems. Father has been in and out of jail for several years. Mother recently completed rehab and has legal issues due to drugs. I have not let the father have contact due to all the issues he has had in the... Read more »

Denania Galloway
Denania Galloway answered on Jul 15, 2021

Usually it takes a home study if non-relative adoption. In this case, you may be able to ask the court for an adoption and waive the home study. If both biological parents do not agree to the adoption, then you will have to do a termination of parental rights along with the adoption. There are... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: Can you help my son with legal rights of getting to spend time with his child?

To my understanding the maternal grandmother is controlling how much time he gets to spend with his child- the grandmother doesn't have legal/ sole custody of the child.

Denania Galloway
Denania Galloway answered on Jul 14, 2021

Generally, grandparents do not have a say over the actual parents' wishes. However, there are other factors/facts that can play a part in deciding this. You will definitely need to provide more information to make this determination. I would suggest you contact an attorney who helps with... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Tennessee on
Q: Follow up question. Is there anyway my opposing attorney could say I'm not a party to the case?

My XMIL has custody of my biological daughter. She transferring custody back to my x wife. They have a date court date for the transfer, but I have not been served anything. I have sent several emails to their attorney requesting service but she doesn't respond. My guess is she plans to... Read more »

Denania Galloway
Denania Galloway answered on Jun 23, 2021

There are no reasons unless your rights have been terminated in a previous proceeding. They can also allege that they have tried to find you but have been unable to. Just make sure you show up to court saying you dispute this matter if you want to dispute it. I also urge you to get an attorney... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: My daughter is 6 her biological father Is signing his rights over to my husband. What do I bring with me to courthouse?

My husband has raised and provided for her since she was 2. And her biological dad is signing rights over tomorrow I just am unsure what we need to bring and her biological father needs to bring.

Denania Galloway
Denania Galloway answered on Jun 23, 2021

It sounds like you will need to go through an step-parent adoption process. Of you contact the court clerks office of your jurisdiction, they will tell you what forms you need.

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: Edited from previous question- Does a lawyer need to be involved in divorce if one of the parties has a 401k?

The party without the 401k does not want any of it and we are in agreement that it is not to be divided.

I see that the online forms available state they cannot be used if a party has a retirement account; however, I also have been told that as long as all parties agree, then the forms can... Read more »

Denania Galloway
Denania Galloway answered on Jun 23, 2021

If there is an agreement between both parties, it can be filed easily. You don't really need an attorney to file a divorce matter whether it is contested or not.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Tennessee on
Q: What do I do as a pro se litigant when my opposing attorney won't serve me about an upcoming court date I'm a party to?

My ex mother in law has custody of my biological child and I still have all my rights. She is attempting to give custody back to my ex wife and I inadvertently found out the date.

I'm thinking I'll just show up and request a continuance based on the fact I wasn't served and... Read more »

Denania Galloway
Denania Galloway answered on Jun 23, 2021

Definitely show up to court and advise the judge that you were not served notice and that you need time to either hire a lawyer or file any answer.

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: Does a lawyer need to be involved in divorce if one of the parties has a 401k? Both parties agree on who will keep it.

The party without the 401k does not want any of it. In leu of dividing it, I took on more debt and he received more physical items such as furniture, etc.

I see that the online forms available state they cannot be used if a party has a retirement account; however, I also have been told that... Read more »

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Jun 17, 2021

If the party without the 401K wants any part of it, a very good lawyer will be required even if there is an agreement. QDRO's are very stringent and few attorneys (and Judges) know anything about them. Knowingly giving up a marital interest in property is a serious thing.

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Family Law and Child Custody for Tennessee on
Q: How To Respond To A Motion For Scheduling Order?

My mother is in the process of appealing a dependent and neglect petition and divorce, and she received a "Motion For Scheduling Order" in the mail pertaining to her case that she has been involved in for almost a year or so now. She briefly had an attorney, but is no longer able to... Read more »

Michael Hollins Sr.
Michael Hollins Sr. answered on May 27, 2021

Your question is complexed and will need to be reviewed from the start of the case to know what to do moving forward. I would advise your mom to speak with a pro-bono attorney at Tennessee Legal Aid, or another qualified attorney with responding to this motion.

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Divorce and Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: I married a man on 9-22-1993. Here's the kicker...my divorce from my first husband wasn't final until 12-6-1993.

Is my marriage on 9-22-1993 legal? If not, do I get a lawyer to type up a document stating I'm not legally married?

Mr. James Charles Wright
Mr. James Charles Wright answered on May 20, 2021

I do not practice in this area - but I would think the marriage would have to be annulled as a void marriage. Hopefully you will get comments from someone that practices in the area.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: Being a resident of Missouri at age 16 I went to Oklahoma and married without parental consent by lying about my age.

Is this considered a valid marriage after 36 years

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on May 12, 2021

You will need to talk to an OK lawyer.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Child Support for Tennessee on
Q: Do I need a KY or TN lawyer? I live in TN. Dad lives in KY.

We have joint legal and physical custody. But he has been primary physical parent for the last year. There is a pending legal case (charges filed today) against my daughters dad for child abuse/neglect in KY. CPS has hinted there’s a possibility she could be returned to his care unsupervised if... Read more »

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on May 7, 2021

There appears to be no Tennessee jurisdiction. Hire a KY lawyer for a Ky Case.

1 Answer | Asked in Domestic Violence and Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: If I was subpoenaed for a domestic violence case, me being the victim, is there anyway I can not testify?

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Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Apr 27, 2021

This is a public forum. Hire a competent attorney to consult with. It sounds like there is already a criminal charge.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Support for Tennessee on
Q: What would be the appropriate steps to take and would I have any options?

I live in Tennessee. My 14 year old son had got into some trouble and had to go through court and probation. As a last option it was suggested that my son move in with me to see if I could straighten him out. He moved in with me right after Thanksgiving last year. I have a court ordered child... Read more »

Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills answered on Apr 5, 2021

You would need to pursue a motion to modify the current court orders and satisfy the standards for doing so as well as recalculating the child support based on the guidelines. This is not an easy process. Although some counties have forms available online, you would be wise to consult local counsel... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: Can I get a prelim hearing involving dcs rescheduled?

I want to hire a lawyer..not satisfied with lawyer the court appointed a week ago..

Ross Matuszak
Ross Matuszak answered on Mar 30, 2021

Thank you for your question. If you have a hearing scheduled, it is up to the Judge whether or not to allow a continuance. If you want to change attorneys, you should start contacting attorneys that you may want to hire immediately.

Once you consult with and hire an attorney, the new...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Support for Tennessee on
Q: Iffather is $36,000 behind what can happen in Tennessee if they won't modify or punish him for contemp
Sam  English
Sam English answered on Mar 22, 2021

The remedies for his willful failure to pay support is contempt. Both civil and criminal. If you file criminal contempt, you must prove he willfully failed to pay and punishment is up to 10 days in jail for each payment missed. Have you tried the case against him for that yet? If you have a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: Can I sign power of attorney to the state found out my dad is in the hospital we not spoken 20 years I'm next of kin
Sam  English
Sam English answered on Mar 11, 2021

This is very fact dependent. If your father is competent, he must direct the authority. If he is not competent, you must file an action for a Conservatorship.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: In the state of TN does a mother have to have bedrooms for the children for privacy or can they sleep in an open loft?

Living situation: Ex-wife, mother, father, boyfriend, our two kids (9 year old girl, 10 year old boy), another girl (age 7 or 8 from another guy, not boyfriend), total of 7, in a 2 bedroom log cabin. 3 kids share an open loft with no privacy or doors. Completely open to the downstairs. Unknown,... Read more »

Ross Matuszak
Ross Matuszak answered on Mar 3, 2021

Thank you for your question. From the facts you provided, it doesn't seem that anything is criminally. However, the situation that you describe is odd, and a court may find that the living situation is not in the best interest of the children.

In many parenting plans (including those...
Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Child Custody, Divorce and Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: Can I file for emergency custody of my children when I file for divorce?

I have no filed yet but my husband is an addict and I am scared for my kids to he with him wothoit me around.

Ross Matuszak
Ross Matuszak answered on Mar 3, 2021

Thank you for your question. Yes, you can file for full custody while the divorce is pending if you suspect that the children may be in danger due to your spouse's addiction issues. I would recommend hiring an attorney to assist you with the process to ensure that your children are protected.

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2 Answers | Asked in Divorce, Estate Planning and Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: I've been divorced many years but have never recieved my half of assets that were in judgement.

I was supposed to receive half of 401k ( which was supposed to be frozen by guidelines for 18 months) but was released to him. There are annuities also. How do I go about accessing annuities & what if he died? Would I still be able to access annuities?

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Mar 2, 2021

Hopefully you also had a Qualified Domestic Relations Order in addition to your Divorce Decree. Without it there is probably little hope of ever receiving anything from a Retirement Plan. Annuities are a whole separate problem as you have to sue each administrator/trustee in whatever State... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Tennessee on
Q: I'm in Tennessee, my daughter was born while I was in prison .

When I was released her mother decided then to tell me she adopted her out and her husband had acted like me and went to court with her and forged my name to the paperwork . All this happened while I was in prison and I never knew till I got out and I want my daughter . Will TN overturn a adoption... Read more »

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Feb 17, 2021

It will be very difficult, and the chances for success are not good. But this may be something you can do yourself if you will research the adoption Statutes and find each and every violation which was a fraud on the Court. You probably can go to the Court which ordered the Adoption and serve... Read more »

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