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THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF DIVORCE.

1) UNCONTESTED DIVORCE
COSTS:

$495.00* for Irreconcilable Difference (no fault) or other grounds divorce with no children Uncontested Divorce
$495.00* for all other divorce with children Uncontested Divorces
(*Includes filing fees, check handling fee, photocopying, and some court costs)
PLUS: Publication fee (if needed): $75.00 PLUS

FEES:
$695.00 simple: One office consultation; 1MDA; 1 Court appearance; no children; no real property; no retirement;
Each additional consultation is $150.00 payable in ADVANCE,
Each real estate inclusion is an additional $125.00 for each piece of property. This includes a recording fee of $25 to the Registrar.
Children require an additional $500.00.
Divorce by Publication or by Default Judgment is an additional $450.00.
Composition and entry with the Court of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO's) for division of retirement plans are an additional $750.00.
For divorces to be typed and ready to sign prior to (before) 10 days, is an additional charge of $950.00.
Paralegal and secretarial time which is not typing or intimately related to the above will be billed at the rate of $100.00 per hour. Clerk time not intimately related to the above will be $50.00 per hour.

*******Additional Court appearances are an additional $250.00 per appearance, PAID IN ADVANCE (if YOU miss your hearing). If it is rescheduled by us or the court, or its our fault it is not heard, there is NO additional charge.*******

!!! IMPORTANT !!!
**Attorney fees for uncontested divorces plus the filing fee must be paid in full before any papers for the divorce will be typed. We accept Master Card, Visa, Discover, and American Express.**

A. IT WILL TAKE APPROXIMATELY TWENTY-ONE (21) DAYS FOR YOUR PAPERS TO BE TYPED AND READY TO SIGN!
Work will NOT begin until ALL necessary information and fees are provide BY YOU to this law firm.
[To check the status of your uncontested divorce, please ask for our Divorce Paralegal.]
[Please do not call prior to 21 days - additional calls and time incurs additional charges.]
B. DO NOT MAKE ANY WEDDING ARRANGEMENTS UNTIL AFTER YOUR DIVORCE IS FINAL!
[We cannot control the Court's procedures. The divorce is final thirty (30) days after the Judge signs the Final Decree.]
C. You must PROMPTLY provide this law firm with all updated information.
[We recommend that you DO NOT leave town during the pendency of your divorce proceedings.]
D. If you retain us for a particular type of divorce, and you change the type of the divorce, whether it is your fault or someone else's (other than ours), you will be responsible for the ENTIRE new fee. For example, if you retain us to represent you in an Irreconcilable Differences Divorce, and your spouse will not sign the Agreement that we typed, and you wish to serve him or her a complaint for divorce, you will be responsible for the ENTIRE fee required for an original uncontested divorce with service of process.

Call 901-757-5557 for a free appointment to discuss your situation.

DEFAULT JUDGEMENTS AND PUBLICATION
Default Judgments and Publication require a witness at the Final Hearing.
ADDITIONAL COURT COSTS
The Court will send a bill for any additional Court costs incurred. If you receive this bill, you must pay it. The balance, if any, is to be paid by you.
FAILURE TO SIGN IN PERSON IN 30 DAYS
If both spouses have not signed the agreement, or one of the spouses has not returned the agreement signed within 30 days, we will close our file. To re-open the file, even on the 31st day, there is an additional fee of $150.00. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS. Any new work such as changing 'no fault' to 'fault' or 'grounds' will require a new original fee in full. Because of the competitive rates that we offer and because of the actual time that we expend (approximate times: initial consultation 0.50; composition and preparation of complaint 0.70, and of the marital dissolution agreement 1.70; total value of $565.50), there will be NO REFUNDS of any fees paid for an uncontested divorce.
REAL ESTATE
Whether you are selling the real estate which you own or whether one spouse is conveying the real estate to the other spouse; whether the real estate is joint (marital) property or one spouse's (separate) property, we recommend that the real property be part of the marital dissolution agreement. If we include it and, if necessary, compose a quitclaim deed for the leaving spouse to sign, it will not be necessary for you to hunt down your spouse if you later need the spouse to sign the quitclaim deed when you are trying to sell the house. We have many occasions where in order to save the small additional fee, the spouse keeping the house instructs us to place the real estate in the marital dissolution agreement. Most of the time the house was owned by that person before the marriage. Later, when the house is to be sold, the leaving spouse cannot be located or refuses to sign the quitclaim deed which the buyer's title company wants before it will issue title insurance to the proposed buyer of the real estate. Remember, the increase in value of separate property (not the value at the time of the marriage) is marital property. A leaving spouse needs to be divested of that interest because all property that is jointly owned remains jointly owned after the divorce unless the marital dissolution agreement specifically divides the property.
REQUIREMENT AND PEOCEDURES
The simple uncontested divorce is for couples who have ALL issues settled and agreed upon. You will meet with an attorney to answer any questions you might have. We will give you a packet to complete which includes statistical information and a worksheet to resolve all pertinent issues. You are to complete the packet, submit it to us along with your check in full. We will type it, and the couple will sign it. We will then file it with the Court and have a hearing set . The party filing will have to appear in Court. The Judge will then approve the Marital Dissolution Agreement and sign the Final Decree of Divorce which we prepare.

Call 901-757-5557 for a free appointment to discuss your situation.

I M P O R T A N T
* * Attorney fees for uncontested divorces plus the filing fee must be paid in full before any papers for the divorce will be typed. We accept Master Card, Visa, Discover, and American Express.* *

You must wait 60 days (without children) and 90 days (with children) from the date of the filing of the Complaint to have your final hearing. This is applicable ONLY for uncontested divorces on the grounds of irreconcilable differences when a marital dissolution agreement has been signed by both parties.
In an uncontested divorce, you complaint for divorce will not be filed with the court clerk until BOTH Marital Dissolution Agreement AND the permanent Parenting Plan have been SIGNED by BOTH you AND your spouse.
If there is a child or children, both parents MUST attend a seminar on 'Understanding children in a divorce.' The court will NOT grant the divorce until the attendance certificated are filed with the Court Clerk, and we will NOT set the case for final hearing until you have given BOTH of the attendance certificates to our office so that we can file the attendance certificates.

Because there is a 180 day time limit from the day the marital dissolution agreement is signed until the time we can hold a hearing, we must have payment in full at the time of the filing of the divorce. We cannot extend the hearing date to allow collection of the fees. If we extended the hearing date in order to allow us to collect all the attorney fees, then the time would run and we would have to file a new divorce lawsuit or file a new marital dissolution agreement. The initial lawsuit would be dismissed.

Court appearances after one appearance for a final hearing and negotiation are billed additionally in the amount of $250.00 each.

Talk to another attorney and talk to us.
Judge the difference.

2) CONTESTED DIVORCE
COSTS: Filing Fees of $550.00**
PLUS:
$5,000.00 to $10,000 retainer to be credited against hourly fee of $250.00 per hour; billing on a monthly basis for all work, including telephone calls, performed by the attorney. This amount is negotiable and can be adjusted based upon need.
**includes filing fees, check handling fee, & cost bond.

Call 901-757-5557 for a free appointment to discuss your situation.

GENERAL INFORMATION
Your presence for an appointment to discuss divorce indicates that you can no longer live with your spouse. We encourage you to attempt to reconcile your marriage with your spouse. However, our job is not that of a mediator or counselor to reconcile your marriage. Our job is to protect your interests and to not only obtain divorce should you so want, but to obtain the best possible terms of settlement or agreement or division of marital assets.
We recommend during this traumatic time that you speak with a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. These professionals are Ph.D.'s or M.D.'s who are trained to help you determine what you want to do. We do not recommend any particular psychologist.

I. UNCONTESTED DIVORCE
An uncontested divorce means that all issues have been settled between the parties. It means that all questions concerning the children or all questions concerning any debts, etc. have been resolved. It means that there is no issue about which to have a hearing or trial. If you have any issue that is open (such as the amount of child support, or the amount of alimony, or when visitation will occur), then you have a contested divorce. An uncontested divorce is where you communicate the information necessary to complete a marital dissolution agreement to us and the agreement is signed by both parties,and the grounds are irreconcilable differences (no fault); or where the spouse will not file any answer, and there is no marital dissolution agreement, you can obtain a divorce on inappropriate marital conduct, abandonment and non support, desertion, or absence from the home for two years, without the need of any hearing or trial except for the final hearing to hear your witness and grant the divorce.
If you reconcile with your spouse, or fail to show in Court, your divorce lawsuit will be dismissed.
If you have a divorce where you must call a lawyer and ask him various questions about various issues after retaining the lawyer, or where terms of the marital dissolution agreement must be negotiated, then you do not have an uncontested divorce.

Call 901-757-5557 for a free appointment to discuss your situation.

II. SIMPLE DIVORCE
A 'simple' divorce means the very basic divorce - no additional work performed by the attorney. Real estate deeds, obtaining legal descriptions, parenting plans, qualified domestic relations orders for splitting retirements are additional work and the divorce is no longer simple.

III. PUBLICATION
If you have called all of the relatives and friends that you know, and cannot find your spouse, then we can serve the spouse by publication. However, you must have made diligent inquiry to find him or her. When service of process is by publication, you cannot get child support, custody, or division of marital property litigated. You can only receive a divorce.

Talk to another attorney and talk to us.
Judge the difference.


IV. CONTESTED DIVORCE
Conversely, a contested divorce has issues to resolve. In a contested divorce the lawyer gets paid by the hour for the amount of work that he does. There is no way to know what amount the divorce will ultimately cost. If there is not a lot of discovery and litigation to be done, then costs and attorney fees will be minimal. If there is a lot of discovery and litigation and trial work to be done, then costs and attorney fees will be substantial. Attorney fees may run only $2,500.00, or they may run $25,000.00. The only thing a lawyer has to sell is his time. The time billed covers not only an income for the lawyer, but also an amount to pay office expenses. We will attempt to posture your case for settlement. This means being prepared and getting a substantial amount of work done. In that way, we will be speaking from a position of strength to discuss settlement. Otherwise, we will be speaking from a position of weakness, not knowing what the opposition has, wants, or will do. If we cannot settle the case after being prepared, then we will be ready to try the case.

V. RESPONSIBILITY FOR PAYMENT OF ATTORNEY FEES
Our contract is between our client and ourselves. We look to you for the payment of our attorney fees. We know that some months there may be a higher billing for work during that month than others. We do not expect each billing to be paid in full, but we do expect a good faith effort to make some payment towards it.
We will try to obtain a Court order ordering your spouse to pay your attorney fees or a substantial portion of them if that is possible. However, the ultimate liability for our fees rests with you, the client.

VI. PROCEDURES
A person filing for a divorce in Tennessee must be a resident of Tennessee for the 6 months before that person files for divorce.
A Complaint (lawsuit) is filed. In a contested divorce we attempt to obtain various injunctions prohibiting a spouse from dissipation or removal of assets and liquidation of other assets. We also attempt to enjoin a spouse from harassment and other such actions. In certain circumstances, we can have a husband removed from the marital residence, or custody of the children awarded. However, generally a hearing must be held on possession of the marital residence and custody of the children. Soon thereafter, we hold a hearing for various matters such as custody and possession of the marital residence, and also for temporary support for the spouse.
Sometimes mediation is ordered by the court. This is a settlement conference.
Depositions of the parties usually are held after that and then certain other discovery methods such as request for production of documents, written questions to the other party, appraisal and inventory of safe deposit boxes and other assets, and various other procedures are done.
Finally after all of the information is analyzed, preparation is made for trial and a trial is held. Witnesses testify, and these witnesses can include psychologists for custody matters, private investigators for grounds for divorce or custody matters, accountants, friends, and relatives. Obviously the final disposition of all of the assets, liabilities, and support is ordered by the judge at the trial.
A Final Decree of Divorce is then entered and you are then divorced. Either party has 30 days to appeal to the Court of Appeals.

VII. CUSTODY
Memphis is in the middle of the Bible Belt. Fundamentalist religion greatly affects rulings of many of the judges, even though they would never admit it. Therefore, you can expect the vast majority of rulings to favor the mother in custody proceedings. That may not be proper under the United States Constitution, but that is the way the rulings go. Under the new law instituted January 1, 2001, there is no longer any designation of custody. There is only the specific times to which each party is assigned either voluntarily or involuntarily in a Parenting Plan.

VIII. VISITATION
Visitation with children under the new law instituted January 1, 2001 must now be specific. There are no more general periods such as "reasonable" or " "liberal." These periods are either chosen by the parties by agreement or assigned by the Court in a Parenting Plan.

Call 901-757-5557 for a free appointment to discuss your situation.

IX. SUPPORT PAYMENTS
Any order for the payment of support is effective immediately after the order is signed by the judge, and the full amount ordered must be paid even if the award is appealed.
Support can be ordered as spousal support (alimony), child support, or both. It is usually awarded by the Divorce Referee in a Temporary Support Hearing soon after the divorce commences. It is based on each parties income, expenses, assets, and needs. The payee oftentimes does not get what he/she wants, and the payor often times thinks he/she is paying too much. The amount of child support is based on a formula which takes into account both parents' incomes and also takes into consideration the cost of healthcare and day care for the child and the amount of visitation exercised. Child support must be paid i the formula so determines. BOTH parties must carry life insurance with the child as an irrevocable beneficiary. The amount of spousal support is usually an amount needed to maintain a marital asset, such as the marital residence, so that it will not be foreclosed, or lost, pending the trial of the divorce and is in addition to child support.
From our experience, if you can show to the Court or Divorce Referee that there has been or will be trouble in obtaining support payments, a wage assignment can be entered. A wage assignment is a payroll deduction of your support payment. It is paid to the Court Clerk who then distributes it to you, less the nominal Clerk's fee.
Alimony is based, principally, on need and ability to pay. The legislature has mandated that the alimony be principally rehabilitative, meaning that the economically disadvantaged spouse is to receive an amount of alimony for a limited time to help that spouse finish an education, resume a career, or start a career. However, our Courts have legislated on their own by imposing another type of alimony by their "interpretation" of the law. Basically, this type is where there is a long term marriage, the economically disadvantaged spouse is not given an amount of alimony to restore he or she as near to the standard of living he or she enjoyed while they were married. This may be for a period of years or for life.
Child support is not income to the receiver, nor is it deductible to the payor. Alimony is income to the receiver, and is deductible on the Federal Income Tax of the payor.

X. LOCATION OF CHILDREN
The children should be kept in the same city where the parents resided with the children pending a determination by the Court.
The 1987 Tennessee Supreme Court case of Seessel v. Seessel (yes, it was one of the supermarket Seessel's) stated that after a spouse obtains custody of a minor child after entry of a divorce decree, that spouse must apply to the Court for permission to move the children out of the Court's jurisdiction (out of the county). That was later reversed by a statute passed by the legislature. Now, a spouse who wishes to move out of state must merely give written notice 90 days before the move. The non-custodial spouse can then apply to the Court for relief. The standard by which the Court must decide is: "What is in the best interest of the child?" Of great importance in deciding is: where is the "extended family"? The extended family consists of grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc., and the Court should keep the children in this county if the "extended family" is located here. Other circumstances may affect the Court's decision, but a competent judge will make that issue paramount.
A party who has been awarded custody of the children may temporarily take the children anywhere, unless a parenting plan provides otherwise. Absent any restrictions, a party exercising visitation rights may temporarily take the children anywhere within the time allowed for the party's visitation.

Call 901-757-5557 for a free appointment to discuss your situation.

XI. DIVISION OF PROPERTY
Each party is allowed to retain their respective separate property. However, the Court does have the power to award any property of one spouse to the other spouse at any time; even after quitclaim deeds have been exchanged. This is to allow the Court to equitably divide the property and fairly award support.
Property acquired during the marriage is marital property, and is joint property even though one spouse did not work and did not contribute monetarily to the purchase. The Court considers the contribution of a homemaker equal to that of the working spouse.
The increase in value of separate property during the marriage can be marital property. The original value is still separate property, but if one spouse can show that that spouse aided in the increase in value or performed functions which preserved or aided the increase in value, then the increase itself is marital property.

XII. ALIMONY
Alimony in Tennessee is principally rehabilitative. If the spouse needs rehabilitation, such as time to finish an education, or time to train and/or to re-enter the job market, the Court can and will order payment of an amount of support for a period of time, usually one to five years. This is in addition to child support.
The Court can still also order alimony based on fault. This is not favored in light of the legislature's strong statement of intent that alimony should be rehabilitative. However, upon good cause shown, alimony based on fault can still be awarded.
Alimony is principally based on need and ability to pay.

XIII. INJUNCTIONS
Injunctions can be obtained for various matters, including prevention of dissipation of assets, possession of property, and prevention of harm and/or harassment. The remedy for violation is to petition the Court to hold the person in violation of the Injunction in contempt of Court.

XIV. PROTECTIVE ORDERS
A Protective Order is a more effective and efficient injunction, and should be obtained before a divorce complaint is filed. It can be obtained in the divorce court.
Once a protective order preventing harm or harassment is obtained, one need only call the police if the threatening spouse comes around. Once shown a copy of the Court's Protective Order, the police should stop the threatening spouse's activity or arrest the threatening spouse

Call 901-757-5557 for a free appointment to discuss your situation.

XV. THE COHN LAW FIRM
Our firm has substantial experience in divorce matters. We represent both husbands and wives. We do NOT represent both parties in an UNcontested divorce. We represent only the party that comes to us for representation.
Our hourly fees cover any and all activities in which we engage, including telephone calls. Our hourly rate is $250.00 per hour and $225.00 per hour. We will bill you much less for ministerial functions, like filing a document in the Court Clerk's Office as this can be done by our law clerk. However, we must still pay our law clerk and paralegal, as we must pay our other expenses, and we therefore must charge you for this activity. We know that you have many bills facing you in this traumatic time. However, you would not want to wait on your paycheck, and we very much prefer not to wait on ours. We expect to be at the top of your list when meeting your obligations. We will work with you, but we expect at least some payment on your obligation to us each and every month in which a balance is due.
We welcome your inquiries. Please feel free to call us or come see us with your questions. If you prefer to come by, please make an appointment.

Talk to another attorney and talk to us.
Judge the difference.

THE COHN LAW FIRM - (901) 757-5557
William A. Cohn
Court locations for Shelby County, Tennessee:
Chancery: 3rd floor, west corridor, all divisions
Circuit: 2nd floor, west corridor, Division 1 & 5
2nd floor, east corridor, Division 8
2nd floor, south corridor, Divisions 2 & 9
2nd floor, north corridor, Divisions 6 & 7
3rd floor, north corridor, Divisions 3 & 4
Divorce Referee: 3rd floor, east corridor
All Courts which try divorce cases are located in:
Old Courthouse, between Washington and Adams, and between 2nd and 3rd streets
Although various lawyers in our firm have been certified at various times in the past in various areas of the law, none of out lawyers are presently certified in the State of Tennessee Commission on Specialization in the fields of Family Law, Divorce, Custody, and Support.

Call 901-757-5557 for a free appointment to discuss your situation.

Main Office:
291 Germantown Bend Cove,
Cordova (Memphis), TN 38018
Telephone: 901-757-5557

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