Sevierville Legal Blog

Prevent money trouble post split by being involved in marriage

Finances is one of the most important concerns when Tennessee couples get divorced. Recovering from the financial hit divorce often brings can take a while. One way to make this easier, however, is to be involved in all decisions made about finances during marriage.

According to a study by Fidelity Investments, it takes about five years for people to recover emotionally and financially from divorce. However, people who were not actively involved with their finances during marriage can take much longer than that. For some, the divorce process brings financial surprises, with 14% of people discovering debt they were unaware of and 10% finding out about assets they did not know existed.

Keep needs of the children in mind when creating a parenting plan

Tennessee co-parents want what is best for their children. This means that they must design an effective parenting plan. Cooperation between the parents is a must for a plan to work. Also, the plan should be created according to what the children need as they go through different stages of their lives.

It has been recommended that babies and toddlers spend the majority of their time with a primary caretaker. They need consistency. The co-parent who is not the primary caretaker should visit a couple of times a week and spent several hours with the baby or toddler. Each parent should spend a reasonable amount of time with their young children each week in order for them to develop a healthy attachment to them.

Student loans and bankruptcy

Many people living in Tennessee and around the country struggle with student loan payments. Despite their best efforts, they often find that they have difficulty keeping up with their loans and other expenses.

Some of these student loan borrowers may wonder if it is possible to discharge their student loan debt in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Unfortunately, the discharge of student debt in bankruptcy is relatively rare.

Racial gap persists in criminal justice system

Criminal justice reform advocates in Tennessee and across the country have highlighted racial disparities in incarceration rates, noting that the legal system has been unfair to black Americans. These racial gaps have continued decades after the end of Jim Crow segregation, exacting devastating effects on communities of color. One study finds a reason for optimism in the declining gap in racial incarceration rates. However, the gap persists, and there are other serious issues for concern, experts note.

In the United States, black people are still more likely to spend time in prison than white people, and in some cases by multiple times over. Still, according to the Council on Criminal Justice, the incarceration rate gap has dropped dramatically over 16 years of statistics. The council is a nonpartisan association that involves government officials from both major political parties, advocates for criminal justice reform and police representatives.

Determining whether a prenuptial agreement is necessary

Some people in Tennessee may think of a prenuptial agreement as something that only wealthy people need. A prenup describes how property will be divided if a couple gets a divorce. A spouse might also waive the right to claim alimony using a prenup. For some people, a prenup might seem like preparation to divorce before the marriage has started.

However, a prenup can protect the property that people bring into a marriage. While this is supposed to be separate property, the reality is more complex. If marital funds are mingled with separate property, that property could be considered marital property in the event of a divorce. An example might be income earned during the marriage used to pay the mortgage on a home that one person has owned since before the marriage. Since income may be considered shared property, even if the home remains in one person's name, the other spouse might be able to claim part of its value during a divorce.

Survey finds people willing to go into debt for holidays

The holiday season may tempt some Tennessee consumers to use their credit cards for gifts and other spending. According to a survey by, around half of Generation X and millennials and around one-third of baby boomers said they would be willing to take on credit card debt for the holidays. People who were already in debt were more willing to take on more for the holidays than those who had none. Half of the respondents who had debt said the holidays were a good reason to take on more compared to one-quarter of those with none.

More men than women were willing to go into debt for the holidays. Half said they would compared to 41% of women. Most respondents said they planned to pay more than the minimum monthly amount, and more than one-third said they would cut back on their spending.

Keeping control of personal finances during a divorce

It's no secret that money problems are near the top of the list as to why Tennessee couples and others throughout the country divorce. Some divorced individuals blame debt and student loans on the reason for their divorce. Divorce can also leave individuals struggling to pick up the pieces in a financial sense. Here are a few things individuals can do to stay in control of their finances during the divorce process.

Financial accounts should be updated as quickly as possible in order to be sure that beneficiary designations are accurate. If a person does not want their ex-spouse to be the beneficiary on banking and investment accounts, they need to get in touch with financial professionals and designate new beneficiaries.

When can a police officer search my vehicle?

It can be alarming and confusing when a police officer asks to search your vehicle after pulling you over. They may phrase it in such a way that you feel you can’t refuse. However, you have the right to refuse a search request. A police officer must have probable cause in order to conduct a search on your car.


Determining when bankruptcy is the best option

Bankruptcy is a tool that some Tennessee residents have used to get control of their finances. However, deciding to file for bankruptcy is never an easy decision. For example, some individuals may have over $20,000 in credit card debt along with a car loan and wonder if bankruptcy is the best option for them.

In some cases, filing for bankruptcy can mean a fresh start for someone and give them the ability to get back on their feet. The best thing that they should do is have a clear understanding of how much debt they owe, how much income they receive and how much they own in assets. Once a person has a clear grasp on these numbers, they can decide if paying off their debt is doable as opposed to filing for bankruptcy. If a person has $20,000 in credit card debt, paying off the debt is likely more doable for someone who makes $70,000 a year as opposed to someone who makes $30,000 a year.

Student loans can sometimes be discharged in a bankruptcy

Most graduating college students in Tennessee and around the country enter the workplace with tens of thousands of dollars in debt. It is commonly believed that student loans cannot be discharged in a personal bankruptcy, but that is not the case. Individuals who are struggling to cope with student loans may obtain relief by filing a Chapter 7 petition if making their required monthly payments causes them undue hardship.

The problem is that 'undue hardship" is a nebulous term that has no clear legal meaning. The Department of Education has vowed to come up with a concrete definition, but the agency has yet to publish the results of its efforts. In the absence of a clear nationwide standard, courts in most jurisdictions apply what is known as the Brunner test to determine whether student loans are dischargeable in a bankruptcy. The Sixth Circuit, which oversees bankruptcy cases in Tennessee, is one of the courts that uses the Brunner test.

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