Going through a divorce or separation is a difficult and emotional process. If children or financial disputes are involved, it can be even more painful.
When the well-being of your family is at stake, you need an attorney with experience you can trust. You want a reputable lawyer by your side who will help you understand your options during this trying time and assist you to make the right decisions for your situation.
If you are seeking a divorce or facing other domestic relations issues, you need a respected divorce lawyer on your side who will walk you through the legal process and help you determine what’s best for you and your family.
Child Custody & Visitation
The thought of losing your children can be devastating. We will help you seek a solution that meets your child's needs, while also protecting your interests. Vinson & Coffinberry can help you with any child custody issues, including:
- Custody disputes that are part of divorce
- Post-divorce custody and visitation
- Child custody battles between unmarried parents
- Custody problems arising from dependency and neglect allegations.
Vinson & Coffinberry believes that both mothers and fathers should be active parents and participants, not visitors in their children's lives. Traditionally, children were often placed with the mother in custody cases and child support was paid to the mother. However, the current state of the law in Tennessee is that both parents are on equal ground with regard to custody and visitation with their children. We are aggressive in our defense of father's rights, working on behalf of fathers to see that they get the time with their children and are able to exercise their rights.
In addition to handling fathers' rights and parentage cases, our firm also represents clients in paternity fraud cases. These are situations where a mother has lied to the father about whether or not a child in question is actually his. This can potentially result in the father paying child support for years for a child that may not be his child.
Once DNA testing has been completed and results have been established showing that the man is indeed not the father of the child, we can work to recover all damages and financial loss due to the fraud that the mother committed.
Tennessee has created statutory guidelines for determining whether a court should award grandparent visitation rights. Courts may grant visitation rights to a grandparent or grandparents of a minor child in or after a divorce or custody proceedings, so long as the grandparents have an interest in the welfare of the child and such visitation is in the best interests of the child. Grandparents can also have visitation rights when one parent is deceased, the child is in foster care or the mother of the child was unmarried when the child was born. A skilled and capable attorney can assist you with understanding the area of grandparent visitation rights. If you want to find out whether you should petition a court for grandparent(s) visitation rights, the divorce lawyers and family law attorneys at Vinson & Coffinberry can aggressively and competently help you reach your goals.
Termination of Parental Rights & Adoption
Adoption and termination of parental rights are important areas of the comprehensive legal services offered by Vinson & Coffinberry to our clients in Stewart, Houston, Montgomery, Dickson, and Cheatham counties. This area of the law is complex and requires an understanding of the intricacies of jurisdictional issues including the interplay of juvenile dependency law, the Indian Child Welfare Act, Department of Children's Services policies and procedures as well as interstate and/or international law. It is important that you retain an attorney that understands these dynamics, whether you are attempting to preserve your parental rights or seeking to adopt a child.
Adoption law varies from state to state and is complicated. Typically a home study is required of prospective parents, unless there is a biological or close family relationship between the prospective parents and the child or in some other limited circumstances. That is why it is extremely important to have an experienced adoption attorney advise you at each step of the process to avoid unnecessary delays in finalizing the adoption. Prior to an adoption being approved by the court, a termination or surrender of parental rights of the living biological parent(s) is required.
Termination of parental rights ends the legal parent-child relationship. Until the parent-child relationship has been terminated, the child is not legally free to be placed for adoption. Termination of parental rights may be voluntary or involuntary. Natural parents who wish to place their children for adoption may voluntarily relinquish or surrender their parental rights. At Vinson & Coffinberry we understand the gravity of termination of parental rights for both the parent and child and will help you to understand the process at every step of the way. If you are interested in adopting a related child or adopting a child following the termination of parental rights of the children's parents in a Department of Children's Services case or filing a termination of parental rights action with the Department of Children's Services consent we can help you understand the process and make the best decisions for you and your family.
Mistakes in the termination of parental rights phase can be fatal to a subsequent adoption depending on the nature of the error. For example if an order terminating a a parent's right is not upheld on appeal, then the adoption that followed will likewise be vacated. Appeals can take years to complete and litigation regarding the termination of a parent's rights can result in children being separated from their natural parents for a significant amount of time during the court process or pending the appeal. That is why it is important that you hire an attorney that will not cut corners to save time.
Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to help our clients successfully navigate the intricacies of termination of parental rights cases whether someone else is seeking to terminate your parental rights to your child or whether you are someone who is seeking to adopt a child in your care.
You will have many questions regarding adoption and termination of parental rights and we will be able to provide the answers. The attorneys at Vinson & Coffinberry have helped numerous families navigate the termination of parental rights process from filing of the petition for termination of parental rights to entry of the order final decree of adoption and on appeal.