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Knoxville Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > It Pays to Hire Lawyers Separately, Even If You File for Divorce Together

It Pays to Hire Lawyers Separately, Even If You File for Divorce Together


No matter how eager you are to start a new life separately from your ex-spouse, no one wants an ugly legal battle.  Therefore, many couples will take every opportunity to divorce in a way that does not involve facing off against each other in a courtroom.  Filing a marital dissolution agreement (MDA) is a versatile way to divorce without litigation.  If you go the MDA route, it is a good idea to have a lawyer who is not also representing your ex-spouse review the MDA before you sign it, to make sure that the MDA is fair to you.  Divorces where one spouse has a lawyer but the other does not almost never end on terms that are fair to both parties.  If your spouse has already lawyered up for a divorce, but you have not, it is time to contact a Tennessee divorce lawyer without delay.

Details of the Reso Case

Marilyn and Warren Reso filed for divorce in November 2015, after more than 20 years of marriage.  Warren was a registered nurse, and Marilyn worked as a paralegal early in the couple’s marriage, but she had been out of the workforce since 1996, when their oldest child was born.  By the time they filed for divorce, the only one of their children who was still a minor was their youngest son, who was 15 and in high school.  Both parties continued to reside in the marital home while their divorce was pending.

Marilyn hired a lawyer, and Warren assumed that the lawyer was representing both spouses.  As per the terms of the marital dissolution agreement, the family’s house went on the market when the couple’s divorce became final, which was in March 2016.  When the sale of the house finally closed in May 2017, half of the proceeds from the sale went to each spouse, as per the terms of the MDA.

Marilyn appealed, insisting that she was entitled to 100 percent of the house.  From her perspective, equitable distribution meant that she kept the house, while Warren got to keep his retirement fund from his work as a nurse.  Meanwhile, she was receiving $900 per month in alimony and had not looked for a job by the time she filed the appeal.  She claimed that being a stay-at-home parent to a teenager prevented her from working and that Warren should continue to support her because he was able to do so.  The appeals court rejected her appeal and awarded the attorney’s fees incurred during the appeal process to Warren, who also got to keep half the proceeds from the sale of the house, as the trial court had ordered.

Reach Out to an Attorney Today for Help

If your spouse gets professional legal advice during your divorce, but you do not, you can expect to be left holding the bag, no matter how smart or frugal you are.  You need a divorce lawyer to protect your rights, especially if your spouse already has one.  Contact Knoxville divorce attorney Patrick L. Looper for a consultation.




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