Family Matters

A Paradigm Shift to Collaborative Law

Resolving family law matters often includes a lawsuit with a plaintiff versus a defendant or a petitioner versus a respondent. By the very nature of the style of the case, it is adversarial. While there are numerous benefits to both practitioners and their clients by opting for the collaborative process, family law practitioners often find it difficult to switch gears and settle into the mental state needed to be successful advocates for their clients in the collaborative “ring” when the threat of litigation is off the table — especially litigators who have spent their entire careers advancing cases from start to finish and preparing clients for a courtroom battle in the event settlement negotiations go south.

read more »

Exclusive Jurisdiction of Juvenile Court

Family law practitioners should be aware of a bill currently making its way through the General Assembly this session that would alter the jurisdiction of child custody in a small but significant way. At the time this article was composed, the proposed legislation had been passed by the full House, and the Senate Judiciary Committee recommended it for passage by the full Senate and placed it on the Senate’s upcoming calendar.

read more »

Ethics in Family Law Mediation

This column was updated April 25, 2019 – after its original publication, to reflect a change in the location of the forms.

Ethics for lawyers is always an important topic. Ethics in mediation, particularly in divorce cases, is an area that should be a strong focus of any family law practice, if for no other reason than that the vast majority of cases are resolved through mediation between the parties. Mediation is required by statute in divorce and separate maintenance cases by Tenn. Code Ann. Section 36-4-130 with certain exceptions.

read more »

Modifications to Child Support Laws in 2017

The Tennessee General Assembly has been very busy this past session in addressing the issue of child support arrearage through two major modifications of the existing law on child support, one affecting the interest rate on arrearages and the other affecting the time period of accumulation of retroactive support for a child or children. Both are important when advising family law clients going forward regardless of which side of the issue they find themselves.

read more »

QDRO and State/Local Government Pensions

On July 1, 2015, the General Assembly enacted new legislation that addressed the division of public employee pension plans during the course of divorce proceedings. Section 26-2-105(d)(1) of the Tenn.

read more »