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Litigate or mediate a complex Tennessee divorce?

Tennessee residents with few assets who file for divorce can usually resolve their cases fairly quickly. But couples with substantial assets often wind up haggling for months over details of their property settlements.

These negotiations and protracted litigation can cause them to owe thousands of dollars in legal fees and court costs. It's not unusual to have legal bills of five or even six figures in the most complex cases.

If that gives potential divorce plaintiffs pause, it may help to realize that couples have alternatives to traditional divorce litigation. They may avoid the courtroom entirely in some instances if they agree to engage in collaborative divorce processes like mediation.

When couples have significant resources and jointly-owned assets, it's vital that they accurately determine their value. Some assets, like bank accounts, trusts and investments, may have easily determined values. But assets like collectibles and businesses are not as easily valued.

For instance, suppose that you and our spouse own rental properties or a business. In order to assure a fair property split, it will be necessary to hire an independent appraiser. When there are assets at stake like deferred bonuses, royalties, intellectual property and other things of nebulous value, the process becomes even more intricate.

Then, too, couples frequently commingle separate property with marital property, blurring the lines between who owns how much of each asset. It may become like a Gordian knot, almost impossible to unwind.

If you are contemplating filing for divorce here in Tennessee, it's important that you seek an attorney who can sort out these complex issues and help you decide whether traditional litigation or some alternative method, such as mediation, would be more to your advantage.

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