Our Skilled Divorce and Separation Lawyers in Knoxville Guide You through the Process
Deciding whether separation is the right choice for you
Spouses have the option of seeking a legal separation in Knoxville and all of Tennessee. Filing for a legal separation instead of divorce may be a better choice in certain circumstances. For example:
- Your religious beliefs may disfavor divorce
- You may be able to obtain or retain healthcare, insurance, Social Security or favorable tax benefits
- You believe that you may be able to save your marriage, but you need time apart from your spouse
- You may want a formal separation agreement in place during the waiting period for filing for divorce
What is legal separation?
A legal separation resolves most of a couple's rights and responsibilities to each other, but they remain married. In a legal separation, the court either approves the legal separation agreement reached by the couple or makes a determination on these issues:
- Child custody (co-parenting) and visitation
- Child support
- Division of property and debts
- Spousal support (alimony)
After two years of separation, a court may grant an absolute divorce at the request of either spouse if there has been no reconciliation.
Our firm can negotiate and draft your legal separation agreement. We also appear in court for approval of your legal separation agreement or for a hearing or trial on the determination of your rights and responsibilities.
Is annulment the right option for you?
Annulment is a legal proceeding in which a court formally declares a marriage void if it was legally defective from the beginning. There are various reasons a marriage might be ruled legally defective (i.e., if one of the spouses was already married, if one or both were under age, etc.). When a marriage is annulled, for most purposes it is treated as if it never happened.
If you enter into a marriage believing that the marriage is valid and you later learn that the marriage was not valid or legal at the beginning, the marriage is still considered to be in effect until it is ended by divorce or annulment. Because your status (married or not married) can be very important in determining your rights and responsibilities, you should obtain an annulment even if you learn the marriage was defective.
An annulment through a church is not the same as a legal annulment. To legally annul a marriage you must follow essentially the same process as the one you must follow for a divorce.
Call a reliable divorce lawyer today
The attorneys at Sobieski, Messer & Associates, PLLC handle divorce and separation law for clients in Knoxville, TN and the surrounding areas. Our office is conveniently located in Historic Downtown Knoxville, within walking distance of the state and federal courthouses. Call 865.223.5586 or contact us online for more information.