Is it possible to have a fair divorce settlement? Yes. It is important for both spouses to consider what they think is fair and why. They should make a list of what they want and another list of what they think their spouse wants. During negotiations too often, a spouse focuses only on their needs. It is also important to consider what your spouse needs and can they realistically provide you what you are requesting. For example, in a recent case, the wife wanted to remain in the marital residence with the children, continue to be a stay at home … Continue reading


After divorce financial security is a common concern. The best way to ensure your financial future is to roll up your shirt sleeves and become very familiar with the financial issues. This will be intimidating even if you handle the family finances. If you have not paid the bills, you may feel paralyzed. Remember, you can do this. You are smart and capable. However, you are under a lot of stress and therefore may not be thinking clearly. I recommend every person in divorce should be working with a professional therapist. Yes, this will cost you some money. Think of … Continue reading


Divorce and alimony are two topics that are highly emotional. Attorneys tell me the two most important factors considered when determining alimony are what the wife needs and the husband is able to pay. The wife must prove her need by explaining her expenses and ability to earn income. The emotional stress of divorce is quite intense. It is likely both spouses will have a hard time thinking clearly enough to sort out their expenses. If this is the case, I recommend they find an Accredited Financial Counselor to assist them at www.AFPCE.org. Do not rely on your divorce attorney … Continue reading


Divorce first steps? If you are divorcing, your emotions may have best of you. Feeling scared and wanting to be protected are common “knee jerk reactions”. As a result of the emotions, the first thing most divorcing spouses do is hire a divorce attorney. However, if a client does not address their own emotional needs, hiring a divorce attorney won’t help their feeling of being out of control on an emotional roller coaster. The first step in divorce should be to hire a therapist rather than an attorney. A therapist is the professional best able to help you deal with … Continue reading

Divorce Parenting Plans Are Difficult

Divorce Parenting Plans are frequently difficult to draft. I was meeting with a divorcing couple in my Brentwood, Tn office this week because they were arguing over how their child should spend time with each of them. I asked one question and it stopped the arguing…”What is best for your son?” Each parent was thinking only of themselves. When they focused on what was best for their child, the parenting plan fell into place. The children are often the innocent victims of divorce. The parents are in an emotional tug of war and both want to spend time with them. … Continue reading

Creative Problem Solving During Divorice

Does one size fit all? While this concept is most commonly applied to clothing (these items rarely fit properly), it also used in divorce settlements. Regardless if the settlement is in Nashville, Brentwood, TN or your city and state. Your family is unique and so are your needs. Yes, attorneys tell me a 50 / 50 division of assets is common in Tennessee. However, how the 50 % is achieved does not mean that every asset is divided evenly. Perhaps one spouse needs more cash. Perhaps one spouse wants to keep the frequent flyer miles, the house or a specific … Continue reading

What is QDRO?

A QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order) is a legal document necessary when dividing a qualified retirement plan such as a 401(K) or 403(b). It is not required when dividing an IRA. A QDRO is typically prepared by the divorce attorney and costs about $1,200. If you are dividing retirement funds, you may want to consider minimizing legal fees by dividing an IRA rather than the 401(K). Here’s an example: If you have a 401(K) with $50,000 and and IRA with $100,000 your total retirement funds are $150,000. If the assets will be divided 50/50 then each spouse should receive $75,000. … Continue reading

Understanding Stock Options

If in the midst of divorce and your marital estate includes stock options, it is important to understand the details. Stock options cannot typically be transferred to the other spouse. For example, if your spouse receives the stock options from their employer, they are assigned to that person and cannot be transferred to you. Your spouse will have to exercise the options, pay the taxes and the net proceeds can be transferred to you. This transfer will not have tax consequences if the transfer occurs within 12 months from the date of divorce. Regardless if you live in Nashville, Brentwood, … Continue reading

Estate Planning Issues and Divorce

If you are divorcing, after the divorce is over, you will have some estate planning details that should be addressed sooner than later. Most people realize that they will need to revise their will. However, you will also need to revise the beneficiaries on your bank/investment accounts, retirement accounts and life insurance. Forget to do this and your ex-spouse could receive funds down the road that you intended to go to your children or potential new spouse. Unfortunately, I see this too often when 20 years after a divorce the first spouse receives the benefits of a life insurance policy … Continue reading

Avoid Divorce Insurance Mistakes

Warning: Will Your Insurance Protection Survive Your Separation and Divorce? Divorce is traumatic enough without the financial complications of an uncovered insurance loss. Attorneys and judges are quick to consider life and health insurance in divorce cases. But frequently other forms of personal insurance do not get much attention. During a divorce judges frequently tell the parties in a divorce not to make any changes to their insurance policies. What the judges are trying to do is stop malicious tampering with insurance policies by the warring spouses. However, legal professionals sometimes overlook common but crucial property and casualty insurance issues. … Continue reading