Family Lawyers in Kingsport, TN Protect Your Interests

Advising clients regarding divorce, alimony, child custody and other family law matters

Family law matters can be difficult for everyone involved, particularly when they involve the dissolution of marriage or disputes over parental rights. Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, PC treats all family law clients with sensitivity. However, we are also prepared to aggressively pursue your legal rights.

Divorce in Tennessee

The dissolution of marriage can be a complex and often contentious process. In Tennessee, spouses can seek to terminate their marriage on several possible grounds. The most common, irreconcilable  differences, is not based on fault. Common fault-based grounds include adultery, inappropriate marital conduct, impotence and habitual drunkenness or drug abuse.

In many cases, the decision to end the marriage is mutual, and the parties are able to work out a settlement agreement that addresses key issues like division of assets, alimony, child support and child visitation. This is called an uncontested divorce. In a contested divorce, the spouses cannot resolve these issues and ask the court to intervene.

No matter what type of divorce you pursue, it is important to retain an experienced divorce attorney. At Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, PC, our Bristol divorce lawyers advise you of your legal rights, help you resolve disputes and always protect your best interests.

Property division

Divorcing couples must decide how to divide their assets (family home) and liabilities (credit card debt). Generally, all property acquired by either spouse after the marriage is considered “marital property.”

If the two sides are unable reach an agreement, the court will make an “equitable distribution of the property.” This does not necessarily mean that the property will be divided equally. Rather, Tennessee courts are required to take a number of factors into consideration, including:

  • Duration of marriage
  • Financial status of each spouse
  • Age, health and vocational skills of each spouse
  • Each spouse’s relative ability to acquire assets and income in the future
  • The economic circumstances of each party
  • Contributions to marital property
  • Value of separate property owned by each spouse
  • Tax consequences
  • Contributions made during the marriage, including contributions of a homemaker

Spousal support

Alimony is financial support paid from one spouse to another. Alimony may take a number of different forms, including rehabilitative alimony, periodic alimony, transitional alimony or lump sum alimony, depending on the purpose for which it is awarded. For instance, rehabilitative alimony is awarded on a short-term basis to help a spouse become self-sufficient after a divorce by pursuing educational or job training.

Tennessee courts will look at a number of factors when deciding whether spousal support is warranted in a divorce. They include earning capacity, obligations, needs, and financial resources of each party; the age and health of the parties; the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage; the duration of the marriage; the relative fault of the parties; and the contributions as a homemaker and to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.

A divorce should not lead to a financial disaster for either spouse. Whether through settlement or litigation, our attorneys help you establish an equitable amount of spousal support.

Calculating child support

In Tennessee, courts must follow specific guidelines when deciding if the noncustodial parent should make child support payments. The guidelines take into account the needs of the child and the financial resources of both spouses. In order for the guidelines to work properly, both parents must be open and honest about their assets and income, as well as the financial needs of the child.

Child support disputes can be extremely hard on you and your child. If you are having difficulty obtaining or paying child support payments, it is always a good idea to have a knowledgeable attorney on your side.

Resolving child custody disputes

During divorce, parents must also establish a child custody arrangement. There are several different types of custody. The term “legal custody” refers to the right to make decisions about how to raise the child, such as their education, medical treatment and religious training. “Physical custody” involves the right to control the routine day-to-day activities of the child. Both legal custody and physical custody can be shared between spouses (joint custody) or held exclusively by one spouse (sole custody). Divorcing spouses must also share parenting time, generally by creating a visitation schedule enforced by the court.

If you are facing a difficult child custody or visitation dispute, Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, PC can help. Our Bristol family lawyers understand that children are often the innocent victims of family disputes and will work hard to resolve the dispute quickly and fairly.


Adoption is a complex legal procedure by which someone other than a child’s birth parent takes over all parental rights to the child. The adoption terminates all ties with the child’s biological parents and other relatives. The child is thereafter considered a blood relative to their new adoptive family.

Adoption is an important decision, whether you are a birth mother or an adoptive parent. The process can be a complex one that requires consent forms, notification procedures and court proceedings. Our family lawyers intimately understand the adoption process in Tennessee and will help you smoothly navigate it.

An experienced Kingsport family attorney can ease your mind

At Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, PC, we have the knowledge and compassion needed to handle challenging family law matters, including child custody, child visitation and divorce. Call us today at 423-797-6022 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.