Lawyers, Answer Questions  & Get Points Log In
Tennessee Family Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Tennessee on
Q: How can you write an objection to a subpoena? Who do you turn it in to? Why does the GAL need all my personal records?

I was served a subpoena to produce all records and recordings of a child I have custody of and both of the child's parents.... including pictures, reports and video recordings. Both parents are working to get the child back. I'm keeping the child out of DCS custody until one or both... Read more »

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Oct 13, 2021

You can file a Motion to Quash the Subpoena Duces Tecum, but I seriously doubt Juvenile Court will listen to you. The Subpoena sounds broad but probably legally sufficient.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: “ Notice of unavailability of counsel” from spouses attorney just three days before hearing. I requested this hearing.

This divorce was filed in January of this year by her. However we agreed on it July of 2020. After she’s filed the court hearing was continued by her party. Since then nothing has been done and it’s been months. Which is why I requested a hearing. I have done everything she’s asked for and... Read more »

Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison answered on Oct 11, 2021

You may consult with a local family law attorney and see if there is anything else that can be done. In general an attorney filing a notice of unavailability will result in the hearing being continued until the next available date. This sounds like your divorce has been dragged out. If there are no... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Personal Injury and Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: Can you miss circuit court due to the fact you are in drug rehab (voluntary) or will I be considered contempt of court?
Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Oct 4, 2021

That will be a failure to appear. Get your lawyer to ask for a continuance on those grounds. Do something besides getting a mittimus or capias issued.

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: Is the charge of aggravated child abuse to a child 9-17. Expungable in the state of Tenn?
Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Sep 20, 2021

A Dismissable could be expunged. Conviction is permanent and no expungement.

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: Hi, my parents are taking me to court for emergency custody of my daughter. She has been living with them for 3 years of

Hi, my parents are taking me to court for emergency custody of my daughter. She has been living with them for 3 years off and on { turns 4 in March} I have all the text messages where I have been trying to get her back but they would not let me. I do not do any drugs/alcohol or anything. I also... Read more »

Denania Galloway
Denania Galloway answered on Sep 14, 2021

Make sure you show up for the court date. I highly suggest you retain an attorney to help with your situation.

Outside of that, the State of TN usually holds preference to the biological parent unless there are other circumstances like dependency and neglect, drug and alcohol abuse, or...
Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Child Support for Tennessee on
Q: Hello, I have 2 young children and we've been living separately from their father.

(I left due to him being emotionally abusive.) We were never married, and I have been taking care of them full time. I've been staying with my mother a couple hours away from him (He stills lives with his parents). He has typically helped me take care of their needs financially, outside the... Read more »

Denania Galloway
Denania Galloway answered on Sep 6, 2021

If there isn't any type of custody order from the court and potentially he didn't sign the birth certificate, you won't have to do anything and you can just move. However, this is for TN. I do not know the laws in NM and could be completely different than in TN regarding child... Read more »

View More Answers

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: can the court make you take a hair follicle test for visitation, or do they have to use a less intrusive means
Denania Galloway
Denania Galloway answered on Sep 4, 2021

Yes the court can make you take a hair follicle drug test before visitation.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: I have a final hearing set for next week and my lawyer had to step down. How to I word/file a motion to proceed pro se?

My case has already been prepared and I do not want to have a continuation. I just need to make sure I file this correctly, and understand the exchange of evidence process so I do that correctly. I want to avoid running into any technicality issues over filing mistakes and I only have 3 business... Read more »

Denania Galloway
Denania Galloway answered on Aug 26, 2021

I highly suggest you try to find another lawyer. I am not sure if your matter is in VA or TN or if this is a divorce or custody case. Usually, in TN, if an attorney steps down you can show up at the next scheduled hearing and inform the judge you will continue pro se. However, I do not know all... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody, Child Support and Domestic Violence for Tennessee on
Q: If I move my daughter and I out of fear for our safety when her dad has not established paternity, is there a way

For him to file for joint custody? He is currently in jail due to an FTA and we go to court next week for an order of protection. He is on probation for a domestic abuse charge that happened last October

Denania Galloway
Denania Galloway answered on Aug 18, 2021

Yes you can definitely move. In TN, there is a presumption that a child born out of wedlock is the mother's unless paternity has been established. However, he can file something in Juvenile Court seeking paternity. To provide a better individualized response to your daughter's... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Adoption and Child Custody for Tennessee on
Q: The judge took my rights from me n my ex husband giving up his rights and his wife wants to adopt my son n he's 16 year

His wife wants to adopt my son he's 16 year old n she's saying I can go to jail for abandonment n other charges if I don't sign the adoption papers

Denania Galloway
Denania Galloway answered on Aug 15, 2021

If the judge took your rights from you via a Termination of Parental Rights proceeding, there is no need for you to sign any adoption paperwork. You are no longer the parent when the judge takes your rights away.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: My son has a stepchild and I wondered if I could adopt her as my official grandchild
Denania Galloway
Denania Galloway answered on Aug 12, 2021

A stepparent can perform the adoption; however, a grandparent cannot. If you do an adoption, you would be adopting as your own child. Maybe persuade your son to go through the process.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: I was told I need a parentage custody order to amend my daughter's birth certificate & put her real father on it. How?

The man who I thought was my child's father ended up not being her father after an home DNA test was conducted. We had her name changed right away to her biological dad's last name but we thought his name would automatically go on her birth certificate and it did not... the man who I... Read more »

Denania Galloway
Denania Galloway answered on Jul 27, 2021

I would need to know how to you change the name and on what documents.

Generally, you would need to get a order from a juvenile court Judge to establish the bio dad as the legal dad and request the judge to change your child's name. Once you get that, you will be able to change birth...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: My 14 year old lives with her father who is abusing her DCS was called. I did not return her for her protection

Can’t afford a lawyer. Will DCS make her go back home. She is terrified to go back

Denania Galloway
Denania Galloway answered on Jul 24, 2021

Usually if there is abuse of a child involved, I would recommend filling Emergency custody petition with juvenile court or Chancery Court. However, I would need to get more information as to why the child was living with her father in the first place, etc. I would strongly suggest you reach out... Read more »

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.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.