Anyone who has been involved in a divorce can tell you that divorce is rarely a clean break. Many issues linger even after the final divorce decree has been signed and approved by the Judge. The lawyers at LawCare - Family Law Center in Brentwood, Tennessee are equipped in helping people work through any post-divorce matter.

Post-Divorce Modification of Court Orders & Parenting Plans

If you have entered into a Marital Dissolution Agreement that divides your marital property, you cannot modify a property settlement.

If you have been ordered to pay alimony, it will depend on the terms of the alimony as to whether or not it can be modified.

Issues involving child custody, child support, parenting plans, and visitation are modifiable and can be changed when the circumstances warrant.

Most parenting plans require that the parents attend mediation before having a trial to change a court order. Even if the parenting plan does not require it, most of the judges in Middle Tennessee will require it. At LCFLC, we can act as the mediator or as your attorney. However, we cannot take both roles in your case. At your consultation, we will discuss these options with you. You should contact a LawCare attorney if you believe a modification may be warranted.

Some of the post-divorce modifications our firm commonly handles involve:

Child Custody

Divorced parents must encourage the child’s relationship with the other parent, except in situations that involve child abuse, sexual abuse, or substance abuse (including alcohol abuse and drug abuse). Parents who don’t attend to the medical or dental treatment for their children, do not attend to their educational needs, or attempt to influence the children to respond negatively towards the other parent may lose custody of the children. The contemporary phrase "Parental Alienation" is sometimes used. Tennessee courts require a "substantial and material change in circumstances" before they will consider changing custody from one parent to another.

You should contact a LawCare attorney if you feel that this is happening.

Intake form for CUSTODY MODIFICATION request

Child Support

In Tennessee, child support is based on "income shares". In other words, the incomes of both parties are considered in the calculation. Prior to 2005, Tennessee used the straight percentage model. Since the change, it has greatly reduced the child support obligation in high-income families and increased the child support obligation in middle-income families. The child support worksheet also includes the cost of work-related childcare, insurance costs, and the number of days that the other parent spends with the child.

Private school tuition is not considered in the child support obligation, however, the Court can order that private school continue when the child has a history of attending that school. Child support is due to the custodial parent from the birth of the child or the separation of the parents. Tennessee requires a 15% change in the obligation to pay support before a modification will be considered.

You should contact a LawCare attorney if you believe a modification may be warranted.

Intake form for CHILD SUPPORT MODIFICATION request

Modifying Visitation or Parenting Time

Before changing the parenting schedule, the Court will require mediation. If you have a parenting plan, you have probably already agreed to enter into mediation before setting a court hearing. Changing the visitation schedule does not require the level of proof that is required to change custody from one parent to another.

Often these changes are needed because of the changing needs for children as they grow, changes in the school schedule, or the inability to make smooth transitions between parents. We can assist in modifying parenting time by acting as the mediator or as your attorney, but we cannot take both roles.

You should contact a LawCare attorney if you believe a modification may be warranted.

Intake form for VISITATION MODIFICATION request

Parent Relocations

Tennessee has laws related to a parent’s need to relocate outside of the State of Tennessee (or more than 100 miles within the state). Most of the time, relocation is required as a result of work opportunities. Sometimes, it is purely a desire to be closer to extended family. If one spouse wants to relocate during the divorce, the Judge will consider what is in the best interest of the child, including the likelihood of maintaining a relationship with both parents in the event of a move.

After a divorce, the judge will consider whether:

  1. The moving parent has a reasonable purpose for the move

  2. The move would be harmful to the child

  3. The move has a vindictive purpose to cut off the other parent

The judge will also consider the "best interest" of your child. If the judge does not allow the move under one of these conditions, the parent is still entitled to a hearing to compare the fitness of the parents in light of the move. You should contact a LawCare attorney if you believe a modification may be warranted.

Intake form for PARENT RELOCATION request

Enforcement of Property Division Orders

After the divorce, you may have problems enforcing your property division. This may be the result of the sale of a home, the transfer of retirement funds, or court-ordered payment of the debt. Enforcing a property settlement may require filing a contempt petition or execution of the judgment by garnishment or levy on property. You should contact a LawCare attorney if you believe enforcement may be warranted.

Intake form for ENFORCE COURT ORDER request

Appellate Review Related to Previous Court Orders

The Court of Appeals in Tennessee is the court that reviews the trial judge’s orders. It is not a new trial. The appellate court reviews only the testimony and exhibits presented to the trial judge. If you want to appeal a trial judge’s decision, you must file a Notice of Appeal within 30 days of the trial judge’s order. This will require filing transcripts of the proceedings.

If you cannot have a court reporter at every hearing, you should record the hearings with a digital recorder. A court reporter can use this tape to transcribe what occurred in the court. LCFLC has taken many cases to the court of appeals. Some trial judge decisions are reversed at the Court of Appeals, and sometimes the time of the course of the appeal process allowed for time to develop alternate resolutions to the issues. The appeal process can take about one year.

You should contact a LawCare attorney if you believe an appeal may be warranted.

Intake form for APPEAL request

Working with Our Clients through Post-Divorce Issues

We work closely with our clients to understand the circumstances that existed at the time the original court order was issued, as well as how those circumstances have changed. Once we understand our client's situation, we carefully explain how we can assist them and develop a preliminary strategy for handling their case.