We are committed to helping our clients.
Rogers, Berry, Chesney & Cannon, PLLC. focuses on family law issues such as divorce, child support, and child custody.
-We work hard to settle cases on the best terms possible.
-If a settlement isn't possible, however, we are experienced trial lawyers ready to defend you in a courtroom.
-Whether you need mediation, arbitration, litigation or an appeal, we are prepared and ready to help.
This is probably the first time you have ever needed an attorney or had to appear in a courtroom. We understand and will work with you to make sure you are prepared for the process. Understanding the law before you begin any litigation is extremely important. The more you know about the process, the wiser your decisions will be both before and during any litigation.
5050 Poplar Avenue Suite 1616
Memphis, TN 38157
DIVORCE & ALIMONY
There are two ways to obtain a divorce in Tennessee either the case will end by settlement between the parties, or the Court will order a divorce after a hearing or trial. Settlements are usually quicker, less expensive, and allow the parties to retain more control over the disposition of their case. A settlement can occur at any stage of the divorce proceedings. A case can settle early on in the proceedings, in formal settlement negotiations, in mediation, or literally, on the courthouse steps on the day of trial. A divorce trial is almost always expensive and comes with a degree of uncertainty. Parties (and their attorneys) can never predict what the outcome will be in Court. We hope this overview will help you learn about the process of divorce in Tennessee so that you can know what to expect in the event you enter this process.
After a party or both parties decide to proceed with a divorce, the first legal step is to file a Complaint for Divorce. The Complaint is a legal pleading which initiates the divorce lawsuit in Circuit or Chancery Court. The person filing the Complaint is called the Plaintiff while the other spouse is called the Defendant. The Complaint alleges fault and seeks forms of relief from the Court, such as the payment of alimony and/or child support. The Complaint must be served on the Defendant, either by a private process server, the Sheriff, or, if the Defendant is represented by counsel, that attorney can agree to accept service of process on the Defendant's behalf.
The Defendant has thirty days to file an Answer to the Complaint for Divorce, in which the Defendant admits or denies the allegations set forth in the Complaint. Sometimes the Defendant will file a Counter-Complaint for Divorce in which the Defendant alleges fault against the Plaintiff. The Counter-Complaint also requires an Answer, either admitting or denying the allegations set forth in the Counter-Complaint.
With respect to grounds for divorce, irreconcilable differences, usually thought of as 'no fault' grounds, will generally be alleged along with legal grounds for divorce. The most common grounds for divorce asserted in a Complaint is "inappropriate marital conduct."
Upon the filing of the Complaint, certain automatic injunctions, or orders, are issued by the Court against both parties which prohibit either party from taking certain actions pending the entry of the Final Decree of Divorce. For example, both parties are enjoined from dropping the other party from insurance, from wasting or hiding marital assets, and from relocating the minor children from the state or more than 100 miles within the state from the jurisdiction of the Court without notice to the other party and/or order of the Court.
The next step in the divorce process is called Discovery. In most cases, this is initiated by the Plaintiff and/or the Defendant filing Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents. Interrogatories are written questions which must be answered under oath. They are generally designed to discover the financial aspects of the marriage, the details relating to fault, and persons with knowledge regarding the divorce proceedings. Requests for Production of Documents generally provide documentation for questions asked in the Interrogatories. The responses to the Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents generally are due within thirty days to forty-five days, depending upon how quickly the discovery requests are issued after the initial complaint is filed. Extensions of time to produce the responses, however, are usually given liberally.
The cost and time involved in the discovery process depends on many factors including the complexity of the case and the level of cooperation received from the opposing side. However, there are no absolutes.
There are other forms of discovery, such as depositions. A deposition consists of a lawyer asking a party or a witness questions which are answered under oath and recorded by a court reporter. It can be helpful to your lawyer to view the demeanor and credibility of a witness in a deposition prior to your trial. Often the parties are deposed. Witnesses and experts, however, may also be deposed. Experts almost always charge an hourly fee to be present for a deposition. Depositions are not always taken in a divorce case. You should discuss the pros and cons of the taking of depositions with your lawyer.
Margaret practices solely in the area of family law and domestic relations litigation, which include divorce, child support, child custody, parenting plans, parent relocation, adoption, termination of parental rights, grandparent custody and visitation, and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Margaret practices across the state of Tennessee.
Margaret is also a Rule 31 Listed Family Mediator who uses her legal experience to assist parties to resolve their disputes through mediation rather than litigation.
Margaret is a native of Memphis, Tennessee, graduated from St. Mary's Episcopal School in 1991, graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in English Literature in 1995, and graduated from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 2000.
Margaret is a member of the American, Tennessee, and Memphis Bar Associations and is a member of the Family Law Sections of each of those associations. Margaret was nominated to participate in the Memphis Bar Association's Leadership Forum in 2008-2009. Margaret served as the Treasurer for the Family Law Section of the Memphis Bar Association in 2007-2008. Margaret attended the prestigious American Bar Association Family Law Section Trial Advocacy Institute in 2007. Margaret was elected to the Board of Directors for the Memphis Bar Association Young Lawyers Division for 2005-2006 and 2006-2007. Margaret was nominated to participate in the Leo Bearman American Inns of Court in 2003-2005. Margaret is admitted to practice law in the Juvenile, Chancery and Circuit Courts of Shelby County, Tennessee, as well as the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Western Division, the Supreme Court of Tennessee, the U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee, and the U.S. District Court, Eastern Division.
Margaret presented "Joint Shared Custody Issues and Considerations" at the Memphis Bar Association's Family Law Update in August 2011. Margaret also was a co-presenter, along with Melissa C. Berry, Esq. and Amy H. Cannon, Esq., of "How to Get Records, Including Medical, Psychological/Counseling, DCS, IV-D and Employment" at the Memphis Bar Association's Bench Bar Conference in May of 2011.
Margaret was a presenter for a series of Child Support Seminars, open to the public, in the Spring of 2007. She co-authored "faith and Divorce" with Rebecca M. Miller, Esq., which was included in the materials for the Continuing Legal Education presentation for the American Bar Association Family Law Section annual meeting in Monterrey, California, in April 2007. Margaret presented "Beyond Child Support," co-authored with Robert Vance, CPA, CVA, CFP, for the Continuing Legal Education presentation for the American Bar Association Family Law Section annual meeting in Memphis, Tennessee in October 2007. Margaret's unreported cases include Ruder v. Ruder, 2008 WL 4368236 Tennessee Court of Appeals, September 2008.
Laura is one of the top attorneys in family law litigation. Her litigation and mediation practice focuses on all areas of family law. Her cases extend across the State of Tennessee. She represents clients who live out of state but have matters pending in Tennessee. Laura is also experienced in appellate work. She handles appeals before the Court of Appeals and the Tennessee Supreme Court and serves as a consultant to other attorneys in their appellate litigation.
She is a Rule 31 Listed Family Law Mediator. As a mediator, Laura uses her trial experience and experience with complex family law litigation to help parties reach settlements.
Laura is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association, Memphis Bar Association, and American Bar Association. She lectures on family law issues and volunteers her time with bar associations and non-profit organizations.
Laura received her undergraduate degree from the University of Memphis and received her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Memphis School of Law. She was a member of the Law Review and the national mock trial team. Laura is licensed to practice in Tennessee and in Federal court.
University of Memphis School of Law
Melissa C. Berry concentrates her practice in all areas of family law and family law litigation, including divorce, child custody/parental issues, child support, termination of parental rights and adoption, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, parental relocation and paternity matters. In addition, Melissa provides mediation services and is a Tennessee Rule 31 Listed Family Mediator.
A native of Arkansas, Melissa was admitted to the Tennessee bar in 1999 and practices in the Juvenile, Chancery and Circuit Courts of Shelby County, Tennessee, as well as in surrounding Tennessee counties, including Fayette County, Tipton County, Lauderdale County, and Madison County. Melissa is also admitted to practice in the Tennessee Court of Appeals and Tennessee Supreme Court and has handled appellate matters on family law issues in both courts.
Melissa is a member of the Memphis Bar Association and Family Law Section of the bar, as well as the American Bar Association and its Family Law Section. Melissa was peer-nominated to participate in the prestigious Leo Bearman, Sr. Chapter of the American Inns of Court as a delegate from 2000 through 2002. She served as law clerk to the Honorable D'Army Bailey, Circuit Court Judge for Division VIII (retired), of the Circuit Court for Shelby County, Tennessee from 19941995. Melissa is a Phi Beta Kappa, cum laude graduate of Rhodes College (Bachelor of Arts, 1995) and received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 1999. During law school, Melissa was a member of the Moot Court Board and national mock trial team.
Melissa's reported cases include Eldridge v. Eldridge, 137 SW3d, Tennessee Court of Appeals, 2002. Melissa's unreported cases include In Re DMD, 2004 WL 1359046, Tennessee Court of Appeals June, 2004, and In Re: Adoption of LLC, Tennessee Court of Appeals, December, 2005.
University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
Amy focuses her practice on all areas of family law in Tennessee and Mississippi, including divorce, child support, child custody, prenuptial agreements, paternity issues, and parental relocation. She practices not only in the Circuit, Chancery and Juvenile Courts of Shelby County, Tennessee and the surrounding counties, but she is also licensed to practice in Mississippi and handles such domestic law cases in Mississippi.
Amy grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, and graduated from Hall High School in 1992. She then attended Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in 1996. Amy received her Juris Doctor degree in 1999 from the University of Mississippi School of Law in Oxford, Mississippi. Amy was admitted to practice law in both Tennessee and Mississippi in 1999.
Amy is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association, the Mississippi Bar Association, the Memphis Bar Association, and is a member of the Family Law Section of this bar.
Amy served as a clerk for the Court of Appeals for the State of Mississippi for the year immediately following her graduation from the University of Mississippi School of Law, where after she moved to Memphis, Tennessee and began practicing solely in the area of family law in 2000.
University of Mississippi School of Law
Rebecca A. Bobo earned her undergraduate degree in History, with a minor in Legal Thought and Liberal Arts, from the University of Memphis in 2010, graduating Cum Laude. She then went on to earn her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law in 2013. While in law school, Rebecca interned for the United States Navy JAG Corps. and the Tennessee Department of Children's Services. She was also a member of the Mediation Clinic where she completed 40 hours of training specifically designed to mediate Family Law matters. During her last year of law school, Rebecca was awarded a judicial externship where she worked for United States Magistrate Judge Tu M. Pham of the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.
Rebecca will be beginning her law career by focusing her practice on family law matters, including divorce, child custody/parental issues, child support, termination of parental rights and adoption, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, parental relocation, and paternity matters.
Rebecca is a member of the Memphis Bar Association and the Young Lawyers Division of the MBA. She is licensed to practice law in Tennessee.
University of Memphis
Michelle primarily practices in the area of Family Law and Domestic Relations including but not limited to divorce, child custody, paternity, adoption/termination of parental rights, child support, and prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Michelle also represents multiple Homeowners Associations in matters relating to covenant violations as well as various businesses and individuals in general litigation matters.
Michelle grew up in central Illinois, moving to the Midsouth to attend the University of Memphis where, in 2004, she obtained her Bachelors in Business Administration degree with a major in finance and a minor in economics, magna cum laude and with honors. Michelle attended the University of Mississippi School of Law where she was a member of the Moot Court Board and graduated cum laude in 2007 receiving her Juris Doctor degree.
Michelle was admitted to both the Tennessee and Mississippi bars in 2007. Michelle practices in the Juvenile, Circuit, Chancery, and General Sessions Courts of Shelby County, Tennessee and the surrounding areas. Michelle practices in the Justice, County, Circuit, Youth and Chancery Courts of Desoto County and northern Mississippi and has also handled appellate matters on family law issues in Mississippi. Michelle is a member of the Tennessee Bar Association, Mississippi Bar Association, the Memphis Bar Association, and a member of the Family Law Section of the Memphis Bar.
University of Mississippi School of Law