Merger Doctrine in Family Law

May 20, 2018

As it appeared in the Tennessee Bar Association When divorcing parties have agreed to a division of their estate, they will enter into a Marital Dissolution Agreement (MDA) that, as part of the finalization of the divorce, is submitted to the court for approval and signature. The divorcing court will then merge the MDA into […]

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Elimination of the Alimony Deduction: A Tax Break for some, a Hike for Others

January 20, 2018

As it appeared on the Tennessee Bar Association Editor’s Note: President Trump signed the Tax Reform bill into law on Dec. 22,  2017, which was after this column went to press. A new piece of legislation has been introduced in Congress that, if passed, will have major implications on divorce settlements throughout the country as […]

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Modifications to Child Support Laws in 2017 – Tennessee Bar Association

August 31, 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 […]

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Redefining Relocation – Tennessee Bar Association

April 30, 2017

The ability of a parent to relocate his or her household, and more importantly his or her child, out of the jurisdiction of the court that entered the parenting plan is often a very contentious issue. The Tennessee Code devotes an entire section to the issue of relocation for this reason. Absent an agreement to […]

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FAMILY MATTERS: Inconvenient Forum – Tennessee Bar Association

January 1, 2017

In the area of family law, an infrequently used provision, but an important one nonetheless, is the doctrine of inconvenient forum, which permits a court in Tennessee to decline jurisdiction in a custody case if the court determines that, though it is a permissible forum to hear the matter, Tennessee is not the best court […]

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Finding and Defining Income Available for Support – Tennessee Bar Association

August 31, 2016

If a court needs to determine the income available for support, hereinafter referred to as IAFS, of a parent with a fixed salary or hourly wage from an employer, the calculation is relatively simple and the subsequent formula straightforward. However, if a party is self-employed and/or the owner of a business, manipulation of IAFS through […]

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QDRO and State/Local Government Pensions – Tennessee Bar Association

April 30, 2016

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. Code Ann. now provides that “a local government that establishes and maintains for its employees a qualified plan, and the qualified plan’s administrator, shall honor […]

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Recent Recalculation of Retirement: Employment Benefits as Separate Property – Tennessee Bar Association

January 1, 2016

In the last legislative session, the Tennessee General Assembly modified the existing statute regarding the definition of marital property, specifically as it relates to various types of retirement accounts and stock options. The legislature adopted a position that altered how the distribution of such assets would be conducted, primarily focusing on assets that were possessed […]

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What ‘Obergefell v. Hodges’ Means for Tennessee – Tennessee Bar Association

August 3, 2015

As virtually everyone in the country as well as in Tennessee will have noted, at the end of June the United States Supreme Court ruled, in Obergefell v. Hodges, that same-sex couples have the constitutionally protected right to marry. The issue of gay rights has become the preeminent civil rights issue of this generation and […]

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Perfecting Protection – Tennessee Bar Association

April 30, 2015

In Tennessee, a party may take protective action from another person short of filing a criminal warrant by requesting an Order of Protection from the appropriate jurisdictional authority. Despite the fact that an Order of Protection does not carry the immediate danger of incarceration or a criminal record, an Order of Protection is a powerful […]

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