The Law Office of Morgan Smith

Law On Your Schedule



About Us

We are full service law firm where the law is on your schedule. Law on your schedule is just what it sounds: we work hard to accommodate your schedule, even if all you have is a Sunday.



Our Services

Our practice includes, family law, including contested and uncontested divorce, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, paternity, custody disputes, and child support.



Our Location

We are located in downtown Nashville, in the Pilcher Building at Second Avenue North and Commerce. We are situated in the heart of Nashville's hotspots like BBKings. Street parking is available.

  • football referee from behinde , selective focus on his back
  • Crossposted from www.contesteddivorcelawyernashville.com
  • Crossposted from www.contesteddivorcelawyernashville.com, our divorce specific website regarding civil contempt and post-divorce enforcement. I find a lot of client’s don’t want to be bothered with listing out specific property, or taking the time (and paying the attorney fees) to go over it with their attorneys. Sometimes, when parties don’t really have much together and have […]

  • November 3, 2016
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  • Sexual Harassment is still common
  • The EEOC issued a press release yesterday regarding settlement of a sexual harassment case, which included sexual assault and punishment for employees who rejected sexual advances. Unfortunately, sexual harassment is still common in a lot of businesses. In fact, since the recession it almost appears to have increased since assailants got a lot more confident […]

  • August 23, 2016
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  • Heads up – auto workers may be exempt from FLSA overtime pay requirements
  • Autoworkers may be exempt from FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) overtime pay requirements.  The FLSA is the law that requires companies to pay you minimum wage and also to pay certain employees overtime.  These cases are frequently brought by lawyers to enforce minimum wage and overtime laws as the statute gives the employee’s lawyer a […]

  • August 15, 2016

FAQ

We have answered some of the most common questions that you probably have on your mind.
This way, you can understand exactly what we offer, and perhaps give you some peace of mind in understanding what you may need.


  • Does Tennessee recognize common law marriage?

    Common law marriage is a marriage by habit. This is when a man and woman live together as husband and wife under the state’s laws. Tennessee does NOT grant common law marriages, but it will recognize a common law marriage that is valid in a sister state.


  • How long will my divorce take in Tennessee?

    There are two types of divorces in Tennessee: divorce based on irreconcilable differences and divorce based on fault (although, Tennessee is not a true no-fault state).In regards to divorces based on irreconcilable differences, if there are no unmarried minor children, the minimum statutory waiting period is 60 days after the date the divorce isfiled. If there are unmarried, minor children involved, the minimum statutory waiting period is 90 days after the date the divorce is filed.In regards to divorces based on fault, there is no statutory minimum waiting period.

    However, there are different levels of contestation of divorces. Contested divorces can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to complete depending on the necessary ordesired motions, discovery, and trial.

    Usually, it is quicker and less expensive to file a divorce based on irreconcilabledifferences.


  • Can one lawyer represent my spouse and me?

    One lawyer cannot represent you and your spouse as there is a conflict of interest.However, if the divorce is uncontested some attorneys might represent one spouse and doall of the legal paperwork and the other spouse goes unrepresented or hires an attorneyto just review the drafted agreements. However, if the agreement between the divorcingcouple deteriorates, that attorney would continue to represent only the one spouse orneither spouse depending on the information disclosed in the drafting process.


  • Should I hire an attorney for my divorce?

    Tennessee does allow you to represent yourself in a divorce case. However, thesecases can become very complicated. It is suggested that, if possible, you retain a qualifiedattorney to help you navigate the various legal issues involved in simple and complexdivorce cases. If you cannot afford an attorney, contact your local legal aid office or seeif you qualify for the Nashville Bar Association’s Modest Means Initiative, whichmatches low-income clients with attorneys for issues like divorces or child custodyagreements.

    What are grounds for divorce in Tennessee? A “ground” for divorce is a “reason” for divorce. Tennessee has several legallyrecognized reasons for divorce. You must allege one or more of these reasons in yourcomplaint for divorce in order to justify your divorce.

    Tennessee law permits both no-fault and fault grounds for divorces.

    A no-fault ground for divorce is irreconcilable differences.The fault-based grounds for divorce include:

    * impotency* bigamy* adultery* desertion* conviction of a felon* sentence of imprisonment* conviction of an infamous crime* pregnancy of the wife without the husband’s knowledge by one other than thehusband* physical cruelty* addiction to drugs or alcohol* inappropriate marital conduct* abandonment.You must have some evidence of these grounds.


  • How long must I have lived in Tennessee before I can file for divorce in Tennessee?

    If the acts that are complained of in the complaint for divorce were committedwhile the plaintiff (person filing for divorce) was a resident of Tennessee, the divorce canbe filed in Tennessee.However, if the acts that are complained of were committed outside of Tennesseeand the plaintiff resided outside of Tennessee at the time of these acts, at least one of thespouses must have resided in Tennessee for six (6) months before filing for divorce.If the acts complained of occurred outside of TN but the plaintiff resided inTennessee at the time of the acts, you will want to wait until you have resided six (6)months in Tennessee before filing for divorce.


  • How long after my marriage do I have to wait to get a divorce in Tennessee?

    You may file for divorce at any time as there is no waiting period in Tennessee,assuming the residency requirements are met.


  • Do I have to go to court to get divorced in Tennessee?

    You may not have to go to court to get a final decree of divorce. If you and your spousecan reach an agreement on all issues, you are allowed to “settle.” A settlement can bereached between the parties by exchanging settlement agreements or at mediation. Ifa settlement is reached, only one spouse will go to court for the final hearing for mostTennessee counties. If an agreement cannot be reached, both parties must go to court.


  • How much will my divorce cost?

    Unfortunately, there is no way to give an accurate estimate for how much a divorce willcost. The three biggest factors in making the determination are court costs, attorneysfees, and you.

    Court costs vary per county but generally run between $200 and $500. There may alsobe additional costs for things such as continuances, service of process, or other courtcosts. It is important to note most Tennessee courts do not have their own court reportersand you may be expected to pay for one yourself.

    Attorneys fees will vary based on the individual attorney and the complexity of thedivorce. An uncontested divorce with nothing left to work out, no real property, and nominor children will cost less than a divorce with real property, business assets, minorchildren, retirement funds, and many other variables. In a contested divorce, it is moredifficult to estimate fees because of the uncertainty of how much work will need to bedone on the case. Most attorneys bill by the hour on contested matters and will usuallyrequire a large retainer up front or a smaller retainer which you will be expected to refillon a monthly or quarterly basis.


  • What is the process for getting my divorce in Tennessee?

    The basic procedure for a divorce based on irreconcilable differences:

    1 – File a complaint (petition) for divorce with the court.

    2 – Prepare and sign a Marital Dissolution Agreement or “MDA”.

    3 – Prepare and sign a Permanent Parenting Plan if there are minor children and thesubsequent Child Support Worksheet.

    4 – If there are minor children, attend the court mandated parenting course.

    5 – Attend hearing to determine if the agreement is compliant with Tennessee Law orin some counties, file a Motion with a subsequent Order.

    6 – If the paperwork is in order and the judge agrees with the parties, a Final DivorceDecree is issued.


    For a contested divorce:

    1 – File a complaint (petition) for divorce with the court.

    2 – Give notice of the filing of the complaint to the other spouse.

    3 – The other spouse files an Answer to the petition.

    4 – Discovery: depositions, interrogatories, and other fact finding.

    5 – The parties attend mediation.

    6 – Trial to resolve any remaining issues.

    7 – Final decree is issued that grants or denies divorce.


  • How is child support determined in Tennessee?

    The amount of child support is usually determined by the Department of Human Services Child Support Guidelines using the Child Support Worksheet. You MAY NOT contractaway your child support obligation, and all deviations from the guidelines must beapproved by the court. Tennessee’s Child Support guidelines are based on an “IncomeShares Model.” This means the goal is to have both parents support the child at thesame level as if they were living together. Both parents’ combined income is used todetermine the support needs of the child under the Tennessee Schedule of Child Support Obligations. Then, the parents’ shares of the child support obligation are determined inproportion to their income amount.


  • Can I date or remarry during the divorce process?

    You are married until the judge approves the final divorce decree. Dating during separation is technically adultery. There is a thirty (30) day appeal period after yourdivorce is granted. Once the thirty (30) day period has expired, you may get remarried.


  • What if I’m not married to the other parent of my child and I need to determine child custody?

    In Tennessee, when a child is born to unmarried parents the mother has default custody of the child. You may wish to come to an agreement between yourselvesconcerning visitation and support but the agreement may not be enforceable withoutfiling a Parenting Plan with the court. If you are the Father of the child and the Motherwill not let you see the child, you may need file a petition with the court to enforce yourvisitation rights.



  • How much will it cost me to get a Criminal Defense Attorney in Nashville?

    How much your criminal case will cost will depend on a variety of issues, such as the complexity of the case, whether you have a criminal record, what Court your case is in, and the lawyer’s rates. Criminal defense lawyers in Tennessee are hired on a Flat Fee basis. Expect to make at least a partial payment when you retain the lawyer.


  • I have a right to an attorney but I can’t afford one. What do I do?

    If you have a limited income you may be eligible to be represented by the public defender. If you are out of custody the court, you must complete a financial declaration under penalty of perjury, and then the Court will place you with the public defender or an appointed attorney. Usually if you are in custody the court will automatically appoint a Public Defender if you have already retained a Private Attorney. If you have retained a defense lawyer but are unable to afford continued services, notify the court and request appointed counsel.


  • Do I need a lawyer?

    A lawyer can be advantageous with even the simplest criminal defense case.Criminal defense lawyers in Nashville are familiar with the judges and can use that knowledge to help you prepare for the possible outcomes. Criminal defenses lawyers will also help make sure the proceedings go the way they should and help you from accidentally making the situation worse.


  • Do you represent people in all courts?

    I do not represent criminal defendants in Federal Court. However, I will be happy to refer you to a number of excellent attorneys who do practice in the Sixth Circuit.


  • Will I get my bond back?

    That depends. If you fronted the entire bond up front with your own money, your money will be returned at the completion of the case. However, if you hired a bondsman you usually do not get back the money paid to the bonding office.




  • Will you take my case on a contingency basis?

    This is a case by case basis. A contingency basis is available for cases seeking a monetary award large enough to cover the attorneys fees, and other costs and expenses. I cannot take your case on a contingency basis if you are asking for something other than money.


  • I just got sued by someone in General Sessions, do I need a lawyer?

    It is always advantageous to hire a lawyer for any litigation but it is not always cost-effective to do so. If there is a judgment against you, this will show up on your credit report if it is $5 or $25,000. Many times attorneys will do a free initial consultation. Attorneys will let you know if it will not be cost effective to retain them,we don’t like wasting our time and money any more than you do!


  • What is the cap for damages in General Sessions Court in Davidson County?

    In Davidson County, you can sue in General Sessions Court for amounts up to$25,000.


  • I was injured in a car accident recently. What should I do to prepare to meet with an attorney?

    Even if it may be premature to file a lawsuit, in accident cases I always recommend speaking to an attorney as quickly as possible. We can tell you what you should do in the meantime, what information you should be collecting now, how to fill out a pain log, and other useful tips. You do not want to wait until the last second to pursue litigation, as you will lose valuable settlement negotiation time. Until you speak with an attorney, make sure to keep good records of any medical bills, doctor visits, and other expenses. Save all of your receipts and make a Pain Log.



  • Is there a special way to talk to a Judge?

    When you are talking to a Judge, make sure to be polite. Try not to use slang and speak clearly. Also, you should always stand while you are talking to the Judge.


  • What should I wear to Court?

    When in Court, it is important to look nice and make a good impression on the Judge. I recommend business casual, and it is always better overdress than under dress.Looking nice shows the Court you are taking the proceedings seriously and general respect. Make sure all skirts are a proper length and do not wear shorts. Many judges will require you to tuck in your shirt and some court officers won’t even let you in the courtroom if your pants are sagging.


  • I have a general sessions case, which side do I sit on?

    In criminal cases, the defense sits on the side with the door connecting the courtroom to the detention areas. However, if you are not an attorney please feel comfortable sitting on whichever side of the courtroom has room.


  • How early should I get to Court?

    Getting through security can take as much as thirty minutes depending on the size of the docket. If you are going to be in Davidson County Chancery, Family or Circuit courts located in the Old Historic Courthouse, I recommend arriving at least fifteen minutes early. If you are in the Birch Building for General Sessions or Criminal cases, arrive at least thirty minutes early as many times the line for security runs outside and around the building.



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    Tennessee law requires that we inform you that this is an advertisement. The information found on this web site is not intended as legal advice. Listing of related or includedpractice areas herein does not constitute or imply a representation of certification of specialization.

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    Employment AVVO:
    Best Divorce Lawyers | Nashville

    Morgan Smith

    A 2007 graduate of the respected and highly competitive Vanderbilt University School of Law, Attorney Morgan Smith has made a name for herself by working hard to represent her clients to ensure they receive the best result possible, whether that means achieving the best settlement or actually taking the case to the jury. She is best known for her intelligence in her cases and her lack of fear when it comes to trying a case. Her superb Avvo rating, awards, and committee positions are demonstrative of her work ethic and commitment to her profession. Her hobbies include following and attending local sporting events including her Alma Mater Vanderbilt, creative writing, and managing her fantasy hockey team.

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    The Law Office of Morgan Smith

    144 2nd Ave North | Suite #201
    Nashville, Tennessee 37201

    (615) 620-5848


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    Tennessee law requires that we inform you that this is an advertisement. The information found on this web site is not intended as legal advice. Listing of related or included practice areas herein does not constitute or imply a representation of certification of specialization.