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Chattanooga Tennessee Legal Blog

The difference between physical and legal custody

Some people in Tennessee might think of which parent a child will be living with when they think about custody, but there are actually two different kinds. Physical custody refers to where a child lives, but legal custody involves making decisions about major aspects of a child's life. This includes what health care the child receives, where he or she goes to school, the religious tradition the child is brought up in and more.

While joint custody may be shared or only one parent may have custody while the other person has visitation rights, legal custody is nearly always shared. An exception is if a parent is unfit. A history of abuse, neglect or addiction might preclude a parent from being awarded legal custody. As with physical custody, the court bases all its decision on the child's best interests. In these situations, one parent might have both sole legal and physical custody.

Financial considerations concerning the family home in divorce

At some point over the course of your marriage, you and your spouse may have decided to pursue your goals of owning a home. Should the two of you decide to take separate paths in life, you might be wondering about each of your options and how best to handle the family home during divorce.

In some cases, the family home may consist of a significant portion of a couple's wealth and as such will likely play an integral role during negotiations. Prior to choosing to pursue ownership of this asset, it could be in your best interests to understand the possible financial ramifications thereof.

When divorced parents want to move away

Parents in Tennessee who separate or divorce have a long future ahead of co-parenting, sharing child custody and visitation. Since children can benefit so greatly from a relationship with both parents absent a situation of abuse or neglect, parents must keep certain issues in mind if they think about moving for a job or another opportunity. If one of the individuals wants to move more than 50 miles from the other person's home or outside the state, he or she must contact the other parent under the guidelines that were established by the state.

In general, this notice must be sent at least two months prior to the planned move. This requirement can be excused in emergency circumstances, such as a move to care for a critically ill relative. The notice must include a statement of the intention to move, the reason for the move and the location of the planned new residence. Under state law, the other parent can file a petition to object to the relocation within 30 days of receiving this notice. In some cases, the parents may be able to negotiate a new visitation schedule that takes the move into consideration.

What can happen to a business when a marriage ends

When Tennessee couples get divorced, it could have an impact on their businesses. This can be true whether a married couple owned the company jointly or if one person owned it before or during the marriage. In some cases, it will be necessary to sell the business even if that is not what either party wants to happen. However, a divorced couple may choose to run the company together after it becomes official.

Alternatively, the company can be restructured so that each party has their own role within the organization that is independent from the other. By not having to interact with a former spouse, it may be easier to continue to run it even if the divorce wasn't amicable. It is possible for one person to buy the other out. A buyout can happen with a lump sum payment or with payments being made over time.

Driver study reveals the most common phone-related distractions

Most people know that driving while distracted is a form of negligence. In an online study from Wakefield Research, nearly half of the 2,000 drivers who responded claimed that distracted driving was their top concern on the road. All but 1% ranked phone use as among the top three driver distractions. Considering these results, Tennessee residents may be surprised to hear that most of the respondents also engaged in distracted driving themselves.

Overall, participants admitted to using their cellphones for an average of 13 minutes a day while behind the wheel. The most prevalent phone-related distractions were responding to group chats, posting on and checking social and watching streaming videos.

Some traits that break up marriages

Many Tennessee couples know that certain behaviors contribute to marriages breaking up. These include sarcasm, criticism, stonewalling and contempt. Contempt has actually been identified as the main predictor of divorce. There are other silent relationship killers as well.

Conflict avoidance can kill a relationship because it does not allow a couple to address issues that arise on a regular basis. Since the problems are not addressed, the negativity and hurt are just allowed to fester. Not learning how to address conflict in a more open way can kill a relationship.

Safe integration of self-driving cars still far in the future

Tennessee residents may be happy or frustrated to know that self-driving cars have a while to go before they can be safely integrated. This is the conclusion of a report from the Rand Corporation. Researchers say that self-driving cars may need to be test driven for millions or billions of miles before they can prove themselves reliable in preventing crashes.

Waymo has put in approximately 10 million miles of test driving in the real world and 7 billion miles on virtual roads using simulation technology, yet Rand suggests that even this amount is insufficient. It may take decades or even centuries for companies to complete a sufficient amount of testing.

Walking through divorce process with reasonable expectations

Do you know what to expect from the divorce process? Many people who make the decision to end their marriages are not certain what will happen as they move forward. Divorce is financially and legally complex, and it can help tremendously to prepare yourself for what is ahead. 

When you know what will happen in your divorce, it will be less likely you will find yourself involved in costly and expensive litigation due to stressful disagreements and expectations. Preparation can take some of the stress out of the process. In turn, this can help you approach it with a reasonable perspective and a focus on a strong post-divorce future.

Assuming a mortgage in a divorce isn't always the best option

In most Tennessee divorces, a home is the largest single asset belonging to the couple. When assets need to be divided, splitting property can be problematic. Both parties may want to continue residing at the home or one partner might not wish to remain on the mortgage.

Most financial planners recommend remaining objective on the decision of whether to retain the house. A party needs to consider it both from an asset appreciation and a financing perspective before determining if the home is worth keeping. If not, a sale may be in order.

Daylight saving time leads to drowsiness, higher crash risk

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has some findings out about the link between daylight saving time and car crash risks. Most drivers in Tennessee know that experts recommend at least seven hours of sleep every day. If they miss one to two hours of rest within a 24-hour period, however, they will nearly double their risk for a crash once they get behind the wheel.

In fact, the level of impairment experienced by a driver who only slept five hours in the previous 24 hours is similar to that of a driver whose blood alcohol content is over the legal limit. Drinking caffeinated beverages and rolling down windows are only short-term tactics for staying awake.

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