Breeding & Henry, LLC

Knoxville Legal Blog

Changes in Tennessee Law Regarding Parent Relocation:

In July of 2018, the Tennessee statute which governs relocation of a parent with a minor child was amended. After custody or co-parenting has been established by the entry of a permanent parenting plan or final order, a parent who wishes to relocate outside the state or more than fifty (50) miles from the other parent within the same state, must send notice to the non-relocating parent at least sixty (60) days prior to moving with the child.

The notice requirements under the statute remain the same. The notice must contain: "(1) a statement of intent to move; (2) location of proposed new residence; (3) reasons for proposed relocation; and (4) statement that absent agreement between the parties or an objection by the non-relocating parent within thirty (30) days of the date notice is sent by registered or certified mail in accordance, the relocating parent will be permitted to do so by law." Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-6-108.

Breach of Peace

Creditors that have entered into a valid security agreement with debtors do have the right to self-help repossession when such a debtor defaults. In this instance, the creditor can bypass the court system and take matters into their own hands to regain possession of their collateral. This rule is encompassed by the Uniform Commercial Code and furthermore adopted by the State of Tennessee in Tenn. Code Ann. § 47-9-609(b)(2). That being said, creditors often do not apply the proper procedures and may unknowingly open up the possibility of being sued as a result of repossessing the collateral subject to the security agreement.

In order to properly repossess collateral that is subject to a security agreement, a creditor cannot "breach the peace." While it is likely obvious that a breach of the peace would encompass some type of violent act, such as pushing, fighting or some other outrageous encounter between the debtor and creditor (similar to what is seen on television shows), it is actually fairly easy for a breach of the peace to occur. All it takes to be considered a breach of the peace is for the debtor to orally protest or object to the creditor's repossession of the collateral, physical violence is not necessary. For example, if a creditor went to repossess a debtor's car and the debtor were to merely say "no," but the creditor continued to carry out the repossession, the creditor could be found guilty of breaching the peace.

Child custody when one parent has a disability

Millions of parents in the United States suffer from disabilities, which can include physical, emotional and intellectual disabilities. Although parents with disabilities can absolutely serve as great caregivers for their children, it is essential to anticipate issues with child custody when going through a divorce

Tennessee has laws on the books that state a parent with disabilities may lose some child custody rights based on the disability. The laws are not as extreme as they are in other states, such as South Carolina and Oklahoma, where a parent's rights can go away entirely based solely on the disability. However, they can still cause problems. 

Conservatorships vs. Guardianships

Under Tennessee law, a Conservator is "a person or persons or an entity appointed by the court to exercise the decision-making rights and duties of the person with a disability in one or more areas in which the person lacks capacity as determined and required by orders of the court." Tenn. Code Ann. §34-1-101(4)(B). Similar to a conservator, but not quite the same, is a Guardianship. In Tennessee a Guardian, or coguardian, is defined as "a person or persons appointed by the court to provide partial or full supervision, protection and assistance of the person or property, or both, of a minor." Tenn. Code Ann. §34-1-101(10). It is important to realize the difference between a Conservator and a Guardian. A Conservator protects any person, regardless of age, who is disabled in a way that affects their capacity. A guardianships purpose is to protect a minor child; they automatically do not have capacity based on their age.

Limited Liability Companies: The Crowd Favorite of Business Entities

As a business, or individual looking to conduct business, one may be faced with the challenge of deciding what will be the most useful, profitable, and practical instrumentality to conduct such business. Historically, entrepreneurs had a few choices in business entities, none of which offered much versatility in comparison to the modern Limited Liability Company. These earlier, more unpopular, business classifications include, Limited Liability Partnerships, Limited Partnerships, and Limited Liability Limited Partnerships, all of which offered lucrative, yet sometimes complex, benefits. In today's businesses the relatively new Limited Liability Company, or LLC, has proven to be one of the most favorable business entities for its preferential tax treatment and the liability shield it provides to its members.

Aretha Franklin had no will on her $80 million-dollar estate.

The unfortunate passing of "The Queen of Soul", Aretha Franklin, has left her fans grieving, but has left her grieving family to divide her estimated $80 million-dollar estate without the help of an estate plan. Aretha Franklin passed away intestate, in other words, without a will. This means the state in which she is domiciled will determine the distribution of her estate through the state's intestacy laws.

There are many advantages to having a will as opposed to dying intestate. The first, is saving time and money when distributing your assets. The process of probate without a will, can potentially be a lengthy and expensive process, and the costs are typically paid out of the estate. With a will, the Probate Court will more likely have an easier time distributing your assets, because the assets and who they are being distributed to, will be set forth in the will document, helping prevent any potential disputes of who should get what assets. As a result of a speedier probate process, less money will be spent for attorney fees, executor/ administrator fees, accountant fees, and the like, potentially saving your descendants more money by taking less money away from the estate.

Grandparent Rights in Tennessee

The Tennessee courts have made it clear that parents and grandparents do not "begin on equal footing." The right to parent is premised on a fundamental constitutional right, which is not afforded to grandparents. In Tennessee, the visitation rights of grandparents are limited to a very narrow, statutorily defined set of circumstances. These circumstances require that (a) the father or mother of an unmarried minor child is deceased, (b) the child's father or mother are divorced, legally separated, or were never married to each other, (c) the child resided in the home of the grandparents for a period of twelve (12) months or more and was subsequently removed from the home, and a limited other set of circumstances.

Is your company being accused of stealing trade secrets?

Let us say that one of your chief competitors has reported a theft of trade secrets in the form of their customer and supplier lists.

Since you are in the same line of business, they are leveling their accusations at your company, specifically, at your domestic sales department.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Impacts

As most are aware, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December 2017, will become effective on January 1, 2019. While there will be a major impact on several different facets of tax law and reform, the Act will implement a major change in family law, specifically the divorce arena. Section 11051 of the Act will repeal the ability of the payer to deduct payments from their taxes and change how the recipient's alimony is taxed.

In order to understand how the Act will affect alimony in divorce cases, it is important to know the tax implications in regards to alimony under existing law. Currently, the payer of alimony can deduct alimony payments from their taxes and the recipient is responsible for paying the taxes on the alimony as part of their income. Once the Act becomes effective, the payer will no longer be able to deduct alimony from their taxes and the recipient will no longer have to pay taxes on the alimony they receive.

Tennessee's First in Adoption Bill

The "First in Adoption" bill was unanimously passed by the Tennessee General Assembly in April of 2018. On May 3, 2018, Governor Bill Haslam signed off on the bill, which will become law on July 1, 2018. This bill will affect several different areas of adoption and termination law while still ensuring that the best interests of the child are well maintained.

One of the more noticeable benefits that the bill offers to lawyers, social workers, and other parties involved in the process of terminating parental rights is the updated surrender form. When a parent voluntarily transfers their parental rights to an agency or to adoptive parents, they do so by executing what is known as a surrender form. Prior to the passage of this bill, the form was not only fifteen pages long, but also complicated and unclear. Now, the form has been condensed into two pages and is considerably more understandable and easy to read.

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