When going through a divorce, it’s imperative to have a competent divorce lawyer working on your behalf. These attorneys understand the ins and outs of the divorce process and advocate for you every step of the way. ConsumerAffairs researched the best divorce lawyers in Nashville to find representation that gives you confidence during the proceedings.
In 2017, 1,744 Davidson county couples got divorced, giving the state a divorce rate of 2.5 per 1,000 residents. Compared to the national average of 3.2 per 1,000 people, Nashville’s divorce rate is relatively low, but divorces are still common enough that many different firms specialize in these cases.
Nashville allows for no-fault divorces, meaning the party filing for divorce only has to claim irreconcilable differences or, if the couple has no children, that they’ve been living in separate residences for at least two years. The filing party may claim grounds for divorce if they choose, however. Grounds for divorce in Tennessee include adultery, abandonment and cruel or inhuman treatment.
Once one party has filed for divorce, there are also different methods of deciding the terms. In Nashville, these include:
Absolute divorce: A legal conclusion to the relationship. There are no more legal bonds between the parties. This is different from a legal separation, in which the parties are not allowed to enter into another marriage.
Uncontested divorce: One of the least expensive ways to get divorced, uncontested divorce occurs when the parties do not dispute the divorce terms, including alimony and the division of property and assets.
Mediation: If the divorcing spouses cannot agree on divorce terms but wish to settle out of court, they can hire a mediator to help the process. A mediator is a neutral third party who listens to both sides and suggests compromises on disputed terms.
Collaborative divorce: In a collaborative divorce, both parties retain their own attorney and begin a private negotiation process. If the divorcing couple cannot agree on divorce terms, they must hire new representation before proceeding to litigation.
Litigated divorce: This involves submitting documents to family court and presenting your case before a judge. Litigation usually happens when parties cannot cooperate effectively to resolve the divorce terms. It is the most expensive and time-consuming method of divorce.
The cost of divorce lawyers in Nashville
Most lawyers charge by the hour and ask for a retainer, which is an upfront fee from which the attorney draws expenses as the case proceeds. In Nashville, the average hourly rate for divorce attorneys in $240. The average cost for a divorce is around $12,500, with attorney’s fees accounting for close to $10,000 of that amount.
Divorces that go to trial are more expensive, as are divorces between couples who have children, alimony disputes or numerous high-value assets that must be divided.
If the attorney offers a free consultation, take advantage of the opportunity. Not only does this free conversation provide insight into the legal proceedings, but it also allows you to determine if your communication styles and outlooks are compatible moving forward.
Questions to ask a divorce attorney in Nashville
When searching for a divorce lawyer in Nashville, there are multiple factors you must consider. Some divorce attorneys specialize in various areas of law. If your divorce has circumstances that require specific expertise, find an attorney with experience in these types of cases.
For divorce cases where child custody is involved, it’s in your best interest to retain the services of a family lawyer. When vetting this type of lawyer, inquire about their experience and success rate with child custody cases. The type of divorce should also affect your decision; if you plan on settling out of court, find an attorney with experience in mediation or collaborative divorce.
Before hiring a specific divorce attorney or family lawyer, set up a consultation where you can ask questions inquiring about their:
Communication preferences: How quickly can you expect to hear from them? What’s the best way to get in touch?
Access to resources: Depending on your case, you may need other professionals working on your behalf. Does the attorney have a network of approved or preferred experts?
Client testimonials: Are there any testimonials from past clients you can review?
Specializations: Do they specialize in a particular type of divorce proceeding? Are divorce cases only part of their practice or the main focus?
Fees: On top of the hourly rate and retainer, are there other fees the attorney usually charges?
Legal teams: Will anyone else work on your case? Can you meet them?
If any of the attorney’s answers present red flags, do not hesitate to interview other lawyers in the Nashville area. Divorces are complicated procedures with long-lasting consequences, and you need a divorce attorney that is compatible with you and gives the best chance for a favorable outcome.
Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC
Miller Upshaw Family Law specializes in divorce and family law cases for greater Nashville residents. The firm has experience with child custody cases as well, along with a combined 30 years of law experience. Nashville clients state the attorneys are professional, respectful and maintain constant communication throughout the case.
The Law Office of Karen Cain
The Law Office of Karen Cain provides Nashville cases with 30 years of experience in divorce cases focused on alimony/spousal support, property division, child custody and child support. Customer reviews from Nashville residents recommend the firm, mentioning Cain’s clear communication style as the main reason for their satisfaction.
Cordell & Cordell
Cordell & Cordell specializes in providing men with experienced divorce attorneys working on their behalf. The firm has 25 years of experience and boasts more than 100 offices and over 200 attorneys. Nashville clients appreciate the dedication of the firm’s attorneys, but some people note difficulties communicating with their attorney.