Cole Law Group

Cole Law Group is located in Nashville, TN, Orlando, FL, and Minneapolis, MN. Our attorneys represent clients in the areas of family law, personal injury, contracts/agreements, and appeals. If you would like CLG to assist you with a legal issue, please contact one of our attorneys at (615) 490-6020 for an appointment or to schedule a free consultation. We invite you to explore our website.

The information contained in this blog is provided for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from this blog should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this blog without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice from an attorney licensed in the recipient's state.

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Children at Risk 3.jpg.jpg.jpgAs a firm that focuses on Family Law, Cole Law Group attorneys witness daily the effects that family instability and abuse/neglect have on today's children.  At times, it is heart-wrenching to deal with, so we have established a policy here at CLG that children's needs and welfare must always come first.  Being a father of two teenagers myself, and having an interest in child advocacy, I decided to do some research on the current status of children in Tennessee.

My investigation led me to discover the Kids Count Data Center, a project funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, that tracks the educational, social, economic, and physical well-being of children.  Kids Count seeks to not ony gather the best available data regarding the condition of children on national, state, and local levels, but to be the catalyst for debate on how to secure better futures for all children.  The policy and goals of the Kids Count initiative is to promote awareness of serious problems facing our children, to measure the outcomes of child welfare efforts, and to encourage public accountability for those outcomes.  The Casey Foundation supports KIds Count organizations in 50 states, the District ofColumbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  You may wish to explore the Kids Count Data Center at www.kidscount.org .

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blog will you still love me.jpgMaybe not.  The truth is that silver-haired silver-splitter divorces are skyrocketing.  A recent study completed by the Minnesota Population Center of the University of Minnesota states that "there has been a striking increase in divorce among the middle-aged."  Steve Ruggles, the study author and director of the Minnesota Population Center, adds that the divorce rate among people aged 60-65 has increased threefold since 1990.  For those older than 65, the increase is fivefold. And, according to Bowling Green State University's National Center for Family & Marriage Research, the divorce rate of those 50 and older has more than doubled in the last two decades.  In 1990 fewer than 1 in 10 divorces were in the 50+ age group.  Twenty years later the rate was 1 in 4.

The "gray divorce" phenomenon that quietly emerged with the Baby Boomer generation has been spotlighted over the years with the breakups of Al and T ipper Gore (40 yrs.), Mel and Robyn Gibson (30 yrs.), Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver (25 yrs.), George and Ann Lopez (17 yrs.), Jerry and Patti Lewis (36 yrs.), Ann Landers and Jules Lederer (36 yrs.), Robert and Lola Redford (27 yrs.), Malcolm and Roberta Forbes (39 yrs.),....... and the list goes on among celebrities.  However, statistics that now validate a growing trend in divorce among the long-married AARP crowd in general should cause us to contemplate why "happily forever after" is no longer forever.

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assetsPositioning yourself to protect valuable financial assets from divorce, even before a marriage has taken place, is a wise decision.  Although such a strategy may appear harsh and unromantic, take a moment to consider these statistics.  In 2012 the United States ranked sixth among the top ten countries with the highest divorce rates.  There is one divorce every thirteen seconds in the U. S., and over 6500 per day.  And, if present trends continue, every marriage in this country has a 40-50% chance of ultimately ending in a legal separation or divorce.

Another reality is that divorce, especially a highly contested or contentious one, may place significant financial burden upon the partners involved.  More than likely, there will be a need for two residences and separate households that require provisions of food and basic household goods.  Alimony and/or child support obligations will be assigned.  Legal fees will accumulate on both sides.  Either a court ordered or mutually agreed upon division of personal property, financial accounts, retirement benefits, business ownership, and debts, will occur.  Mounting expenditures and mandatory division of marital property is a given in any divorce settlement, and hardly anyone comes out financially ahead after the smoke has cleared.

Tagged in: business divorce
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imgres-1Hiring an attorney can be an expensive proposition, but there are specific things that you can do to help keep your legal expenses under control.  One of the most important decisions you will make, and one of the best ways to ensure that you won't pay more for legal services than you anticipate, is to hire the right attorney from the very beginning.  (Switching lawyers midstream can result in having to pay a second retainer fee and the additional cost of bringing a subsequent  attorney up to speed in the case.)  Do your homework, choose carefully, and hire an attorney whom you trust, with whom you can communicate, and who will be a zealous advocate for the objectives that you wish to achieve.

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cole law initial consultationDuring your initial meeting with a divorce attorney, he/she will discuss with you the relevant issues, objective goals, and possible outcomes of your case.  In order to use this consultation to your best advantage, you should arrive promptly and bring with you a folder of any pertinent information or documentation.  Have paper and pencil on hand in order to take notes or write down helpful legal advice.  It is a good idea to have a list of questions you would like the attorney to answer with regard to billing policies, client/attorney communication, and strengths/weaknesses of your case.  Advance preparation on your part will not only benefit the attorney but save valuable time and be cost-effective for you.

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after divorceThe process is over.  The documents have been signed.  You have the divorce decree in hand---and you're headed to Disney World.  Good idea, but just hold that thought for a moment.  You're not quite there yet.  Some essential business details must still be addressed in order to protect yourself, your interests, and your brand new future.  So what must be done after the divorce?

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imagesIn the United States it is literally raining cats and dogs (and other specialty and exotic animals.)  According to the 2012 U. S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, Americans share their households with almost seventy million dogs, over seventy-four million cats, sixteen million birds, nearly eight million horses, approximately one hundred sixty million fish, and thirteen million reptiles.  The American Pet Products Association estimates that $55.53 billion will be spent on pet industry expenditures in 2013, and $14.21 billion of that amount will be for veterinary care.  Yes, we Americans (and I am one of them) are emotionally tied to our pets.  They give us love and companionship; they help us relax; they force us to exercise; they bring humor and humility to our days.  They are part of our family and enhance our lives.  So, is it any wonder that when couples break up, who gets custody of Fido or Fluffy or Tweety Bird can become a serious legal problem.

Tagged in: custody divorce pet
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private-investigator-training-e1366206644234-650x400Celebrities do it.  Society mavens do it.  High-profile athletes do it.  According to recent media reports Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs alledgedly did it for some time.  So, why shouldn't I hire a private investigator? Perhaps you should, but hiring a private eye is a decision that must be made deliberately and strategically--not in the heat of the moment or when you are alone and in emotional turmoil.

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cole law group-custodyWhen a divorce that involves children is finalized, a permanent parenting plan that determines child support, allocates parenting responsibilites, and establishes a residential schedule, goes into effect. Parents do have the option of mutually  agreeing to a permanent parenting plan, and we all know that in a perfect world such a course of action would be the most cost effective and less time consuming solution. However, divorce is not a perfect world, and child custody issues are inherently emotional, complex, wrought with contention, and challenging to deal with even from a legal viewpoint.  Therefore, if the parties are not able to reach an amicable agreement, custody will be in the hands of the court and determined by what is in "in the best interest of the child." In reaching its decision, the court will attempt to keep both parents involved and active in the child's life and encourage each parent to maintain a loving, stable, and nurturing relationship with the child. 

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images-4You have gone through, or are going through, a nasty divorce. During the legal process, your ex (or others) have made claims and accusations about you that are simply NOT TRUE.  False rumors are now spreading hot and heavy about your character and reputation, thereby affecting your social and business/employment status.  You have been damaged--BUT can you sue?

Tagged in: divorce ex rumor slander sue
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vasaleks shutterstock 90529111What is a never-married mother's custodial rights to her child?  Can the child's birth father demand visitation?  Is the mother eligible for child support?

These are questions I often encounter in my practice from single mothers who have never married nor been involved in any court action concerning custody of their child.  Unfortunately, given this particular set of circumstances, disputes do tend to arise down the road concerning custody, visitation, and child support.  The information I will provide in this article is based on law in the states where I am licensed--Florida, Minnesota, and Tennessee.  Laws governing such disputes do vary from state to state, and you should consult with a local attorney concerning issues pertaining to your specific case.

Tagged in: child dad mom single support
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cole law group divorceYou have made one of the hardest decisions of your life--to file for divorce, or perhaps you have had that decision thrust upon you.  Whichever, you are probably now feeling an overwhelming range of emotions--anger, depression, humiliation, fear, confusion.  What steps do you initially need to take?  How will your behavior affect the outcome of your case?  Who can you turn to for advice?  This guide will provide you with ten practical tips that will help you to protect your interests and to survive that maelsrom called divorce.

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child-custody-rightsNo aspect of family dissolution is more daunting or heart-wrenching than the issues and decisions regarding child custody.  How much time will you have with your child after the divorce?  Who will have authority to make major decisions for your child?  How will your child be financially supported?  Such questions will be addressed and ultimately determined by the legal process for child custody in the state of Tennessee.

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Is_it_legal_to_record_ex_callsYou may be involved in a messy divorce or a contentious custody battle and believe that recording your spouse's telephone conversations would give you much needed evidence to present in court.  It is true that there are many electronic devices for sale that can easily record those calls, and such recordings of your spouse can be used in evience provided they're relevant.  However--and here's the glitch--what you are doing may very well be illegal and you could find yourself facing civil and criminal charges.

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