Breeding & Henry, LLC

Knoxville Legal Blog

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.

What if I suspect my spouse is hiding assets?

When it comes to divorce in Knoxville, most couples are aware the law requires them to share the marital assets. If they do not have children and can agree to split things fairly, they may end their marriage by filing a marital dissolution agreement. However, high asset divorces and ones involving children are usually not so easy to settle and come with their own set of unique challenges. 

If you suspect your spouse is not completely honest and transparent about his or her financial information and assets, you need to act fast. Your partner might be transferring and hiding assets to keep you from receiving your fair share in the settlement. Here are some common ways spouses hide assets: 

  • Making recent purchases of high-end and expensive items: Your spouse might make extravagant purchases and return them after the divorce is final. 
  • Being dishonest on taxes: Your partner might overpay the IRS so he or she can receive the money back after the divorce is final. Your spouse might also resort to underreporting income. 
  • Creating accounts for the children: There is nothing wrong with setting up accounts to ensure your kids' financial security. However, your partner’s goal may be to hide cash in those accounts until the divorce is final. 

Attorney Client Communication

In the legal industry it is imperative that, in addition to providing competent services, attorneys should be expected to appropriately and sufficiently manage and define the expectations of their clients. Clients may have may preconceived expectations about many aspects of their lawyers' services, ranging from the legal results to be achieved, to their win/loss ratio, and the frequency of correspondence by their lawyers. The best way to address these issues on the front end, is clear and open communication between the lawyer and client. In this consideration, attorneys should strive for transparent and frequent communication with clients, addressing appropriate expectations of timeliness, and clear guidelines to upon completion or termination of representation.

Child Support Arrearage & Wrongful Death

On December 27, 2017, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled in Spires v. Simpson to clarify the conditions in which one may bring about a wrongful death suit and the appropriate acquisition of remedies, specifically when filed by parents who owe child support. In instances of wrongful death, parties may bring claims to affirm that the deceased individual's passing is the result of negligence or misconduct that may have resulted in significant and quantifiable damages.

Typically, the law provides for two (2) potential claims that may be utilized in these situations. Some states provide that the claims of the deceased be transferred to the immediate family, and that they are qualified to receive remedies from the damages. Others allow for the petition of a wrongful death claim specifying that the aggrieved party wishes to receive adequate recompense as a result of the event. Recently, the Supreme Court has clarified that Tennessee has somewhat of a hybrid system, and that immediate relatives are entitled to bring about personal lawsuits should they desire.

5 common mistakes to avoid in a high-asset divorce

If there are complex items, such as properties, businesses and significant financial interests, attached to the decision to end your marriage, you are probably in high-asset divorce territory.

There are plenty of opportunities for missteps in divorces that involve high net worth. Here are five common mistakes to avoid:

January 2018 - Marijuana legislation update

With the New Year bringing about myriad possibilities, many will turn their attention to the arrival of the new legislative season. For Tennesseans, and those in a majority of other states, the issue of marijuana and its place in our society has become quite salient which demands to be addressed by both the federal and state governments. The first week of January has seen both California and Vermont vote and enact legislation that would allow for the distribution of medical or recreational marijuana, raising the total of states in which medical marijuana is legal to twenty-nine.

Current deliberations over legislation concerning marijuana in Tennessee rest upon State Senator Seven Dickerson and Representative Jeremy Faison, who are tasked with overseeing a committee designed to study and report on the impact of medical marijuana on the state of Tennessee. This committee has been constructed to allow for expert medical and legal opinion and testimonials that will be utilized to draft potential new legislation and regulations surrounding the drug itself.

Appellate Update: Personal Signature of Party Not Required in Parental Termination Cases

In the case in re Bentley D., the Tennessee Court of Appeals considered an appeal of the judgment terminating a father's parental rights in which the father appealing the final order did not personally sign the Notice of Appeal. Upon filing, the Court of Appeals ordered the father to show cause why his appeal should not be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because of his failure to personally sign the notice of appeal pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 36-1-124(d), which states, "Any notice of appeal filed in a termination of parental rights action shall be signed by the appellant." The father filed a response to the show cause order, which included a challenge to the constitutionality of the statute at issue. The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled that an appeal of the judgment terminating a parent's rights submitted within thirty days without the father's signature was untimely, and dismissed the father's appeal.

Understanding conspiracy charges in Tennessee

Crimes occur on a daily basis, and those involved in them stand to face judgment for their actions. Even if a crime does not pan out as expected, if an individual commits conspiracy, it is still a criminal charge that may result in harsh penalties.

If you or a loved one face criminal conspiracy charges, you must understand what they entail to choose the best route for you. There are a few key things to understand about these charges in the state of Tennessee.

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