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Partner – Michael T. Fort

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Franklin, Tennessee, Attorney Michael Fort

Michael Fort has been practicing law in Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee since 2006. Prior to beginning his practice, Michael graduated from law school with honors and was employed in the 21st Judicial District Judges’ Office located in Franklin, Tennessee. In 2008, Michael joined the law firm Schell, Binkley and Davies, LLC as an associate. In 2013, Michael became a partner at Schell and Davies, LLC.

Since becoming a partner at Schell and Davies, LLC, Michael has been recognized for his divorce, family law and criminal law practice in Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee. In 2014, Michael Fort received listing as a Mid-South SuperLawyer Rising Star for his Franklin, Tennessee family law and criminal law practice. This peer nominated award is received by only 2.5% of attorney’s practicing in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi. Also since 2014, Michael Fort received Top 40 under 40 Award and Top 100 Lawyers Award from the National Trial Lawyers. Michael also received designation as 2015 American Institute of Family Lawyers 10 best in Tennessee and received a Superb 10 rating on AVVO.com.

Contact Mr. Fort here:

mfort@franklin.legal (615) 550-2800

 

CLIENT REVIEWS

5.0 stars


Posted by Anupam
October 6, 2016
It is just because of his agility and promptness that I could get my child back to TN after mother left to another state with the child and placed false charges. Young and attentive to details. Always grateful for his help and recommend anyone.

Honest, staunch Attorney


5.0 stars
Posted by Ashlee
June 2, 2016
Mike was able to guide me a through a lengthy and tedious process, instilling in me realistic expectations. He thoroughly prepared me for every aspect of the case. I would recommend him highly for your divorce or family law needs.

Best Lawyer in Middle TN


5.0 stars
Posted by Chris Hendershot
October 21, 2015
I went through a terrible divorce a few years ago, and ended up settling on anything and everything just to get it over with. Unfortunately, because of the settlement, I ended up in court a couple more times since the divorce. I was never happy with any of my attorney’s until I finally hired Michael Fort. He was able to articulate the terms of the new settlement that was easily understood and fair to all parties. I wish I would have found him as my initial Lawyer. He did a great job! I would recommended his services to anyone needing a good lawyer.

Child Custody Case


5.0 stars
Posted by Anthony
Mr. Forts expertise and due diligence allowed me to obtain full custody of my daughter. Very professional and impressive in and out of the courtroom. Extremely organized and on top of every situation expected or unexpected. Young attorney who took on a very seasoned and well known attorney in Rutherford county. Never flinched and very confident. Forever grateful.

Tons of Integrity


5.0 stars
Posted by Mike
I am very impressed with this young and very talented attorney. Picked anomalously from yellow pages,
I found out first hand, the tons of integrity, honesty and a just plain willingness to do the right thing. In my opinion, one hell of an attorney.

Divorce Client


5.0 stars
Posted by CM
Michael Fort did a great job handling my divorce. He answered all of my questions and aggressively pursued a resolution to my case. I was very satisfied with his representation and would not hesitate to recommend him to my friends!

Michael Fort, great lawyer


5.0 stars
Posted by William
Mr. Fort did a superb job. He handled my case well. He worked quickly with no hassles. If you need a lawyer, Michael Fort is your man.

Trustworthy Attorney


5.0 stars
Posted by Robin

Mike represented me on a post-divorce child support issue. Because of his expertise and knowledge of the law, I had a great result. He was an excellent advocate for me.

Job well done


5.0 stars
I was almost ready to give up during my messy divorce. I wasn’t sure what was worse, my previous attorney that was representing me or my husband who I was trying to divorce. I was at my “wits end” until I met Mike Forte. He is intelligent, thorough, and most important compassionate and he understood my situation. He immediately made me feel at ease as soon as he took over my case. He took the time to discuss my expectations, concerns, and answered all of my questions. He made this difficult process much easier for me and I was very pleased with the final outcome. I recommend Mike Fort to anyone.

Services provided By Michael Fort


5.0 stars
Posted by Stan

Mr. Fort guided me through the process as my ex-wife was trying to have criminal charges placed against me with her false accusations. The charges ended up being dismissed by the judge. She then tried to take full custody of my children when I am the one that actually spends most of the time raising them. I ended up gaining a day of custody and able to spend more time with my children after going through mediation. Mr. Fort diligently stood up for my rights as a father and a parent in protecting the time I have with my children. He did not allow the other lawyer to run the show. Mr. Fort was aggressive to point out the failures of my ex-wife in meeting the parenting plan and help set up needed changes that would benefit my time with my children. He works very hard for his client and is very knowledgeable of law.

Franklin, Tennessee Divorce and Family Law Practice

Michael Fort has assisted clients with family law, divorce and post-divorce matters since beginning his practice in Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee in 2006. When you are a party to a divorce action, it is important you have knowledgeable and sound legal advice. Most divorce cases have issues of property division, alimony, child support and child custody.  In Franklin, Tennessee divorce actions, Michael Fort has negotiated and litigated matters such as: classification of separate and marital property, property division, debt division, valuation and division of closely held business interests, equitable division of financial investments, alimony, parenting time and child support

UNDERSTANDING PROPERTY DIVISION IN YOUR FRANKLIN, TENNESSEE DIVORCE

Whether it is real property or personal property, property division (asset division) is important in almost every Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee divorce case. All property owned at the time of divorce may not be marital property.  Therefore, all property owned by the parties must first be classified as marital property or separate property.  

Separate property is property owned prior to the marriage, gifted property and inherited property.  Separate property is not subject to division.  Separate property and appreciation of separate property can be converted to marital property through transmutation and commingling.  Once separate property is converted to marital property, it is subject to division.  Classification of marital assets is a meaningful process in your Franklin, Tennessee, Williamson County, divorce case.

Marital property is to be divided equitably.  An equitable division is not presumed to be an equal division but in many cases, an equitable division may be an equal division.   After classification of property, the Court divides marital property pursuant to the following factors:

 (1) The duration of the marriage;

(2) The age, physical and mental health, vocational skills, employability, earning capacity, estate, financial liabilities and financial needs of each of the parties;

(3) The tangible or intangible contribution by one (1) party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party;

(4) The relative ability of each party for future acquisitions of capital assets and income;

(5)(A) The contribution of each party to the acquisition, preservation, appreciation, depreciation or dissipation of the marital or separate property, including the contribution of a party to the marriage as homemaker, wage earner or parent, with the contribution of a party as homemaker or wage earner to be given the same weight if each party has fulfilled its role;

(B) Dissipation of marital assets on wasteful expenditures (i.e. gambling, expenditures on paramours);

(6) The value of the separate property of each party;

(7) The estate of each party at the time of the marriage;

(8) The economic circumstances of each party at the time the division of property is to become effective;

(9) The tax consequences to each party, costs associated with the reasonably foreseeable sale of the asset, and other reasonably foreseeable expenses associated with the asset;

(10) The amount of social security benefits available to each spouse; and

(11) Such other factors as are necessary to consider the equities between the parties.

Generally, the division and equalization of marital assets is not a taxable event.  

Division of marital assets is an important part of your financial future.  Prior to dividing marital assets it is critical that the marital estate is fully understood so that a knowledgeable division can be proposed for settlement or to the Court.  The above factors are simply a primer to an area wrought with pitfalls for the unwary divorce litigant. There is no substitute for a knowledgeable lawyer who understands the complexities of asset division and division of asset appreciation.  Make sure to have such a divorce lawyer in your Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee divorce.

UNDERSTANDING THE DIVISION OF DEBT IN YOUR FRANKLIN, TENNESSEE DIVORCE

Like property assets a court will again examine the details of your divorce case and try to assess the marital debt in an equitable manner. In Tennessee, Court use the following factors to analyze and divide marital debt in a divorce case:

1)  The purpose for the debt;

2)  Which party incurred the debt;

3)  Which party benefited from the debt; and

4)  Which party is best able to repay the debt.

Make sure that your Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee divorce lawyer understands debt assessment.  

UNDERSTANDING YOUR ALIMONY/SPOUSAL SUPPORT RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS IN YOUR FRANKLIN, TENNESSEE DIVORCE

Contrary to popular belief, alimony is not always a recurring payment nor is it always permanent.  In fact, Tennessee divorce statutes state a preference for short term alimony.  The four (4) types of alimony recognized in Tennessee are:

 

  • Alimony in futuro, or periodic alimony, provides for spousal support for a longer term or permanent basis. This type of alimony provides support to be paid at regular intervals.  Often, alimony in futuro may last until the death or remarriage of the recipient, when the disadvantaged spouse cannot be rehabilitated.  Alimony in futuro may be modified.

 

  • Alimony in solido, is sum certain as it provides a specific amount. While it can be paid monthly at a fixed amount or all at once, the total amount to be paid is ascertainable on the date of divorce. Alimony in solido may be awarded to adjust the division of marital property or compensate a spouse for the decrease in value of her separate property due to the other spouse’s actions.

 

  • Rehabilitative alimony is preferred by statute. While there is a statutory preference for rehabilitative alimony, it does not displace long-term alimony in futuro when necessary. Rehabilitative alimony is intended to assist an economically disadvantaged spouse in acquiring additional education or training to achieve economic independence. Rehabilitative alimony may be modified, including being terminated or extended.

 

  • Transitional alimony is designed to aid a spouse who already possesses the capacity for self-sufficiency but needs financial assistance in adjusting to the economic consequences of establishing and maintaining a household without the benefit of the other spouse’s income. It is not modifiable unless the parties agree otherwise.

 

 Alimony is a common issue in Franklin, Tennessee divorce and family law cases.  Make sure you have a Franklin, Williamson County Tennessee divorce attorney with a sound understanding of Tennessee alimony law.

FACTORS DETERMINING TYPE, DURATION AND AMOUNT OF ALIMONY

In determining the type, duration and amount of alimony, necessary statutory considerations are:

(1) The relative earning capacity, obligations, needs, and financial resources of each party, including income from pension, profit sharing or retirement plans and other sources;

(2) The relative education and training of each party, the ability and opportunity of each party to secure such education and training, and the necessity of a party to secure further education and training to improve such party’s earning capacity to a reasonable level;

(3) The duration of the marriage;

(4) The age and mental condition of each party;

(5) The physical condition of each party; including, but not limited to, physical disability or incapacity due to a chronic debilitating disease;

(6) The extent to which it would be undesirable for a party to seek employment outside the home because such party will be custodian of a minor child of the marriage;

(7) The separate assets of each party, both real and personal, tangible and intangible;

(8) The provisions made with regard to the marital property;

(9) The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage;

(10) The extent to which each party has made such tangible and intangible contributions to the marriage as monetary and homemaker contributions, and tangible and intangible contributions by a party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party;

(11) The relative fault of the parties in cases where the court, in its discretion, deems it appropriate to do so; and,

(12) Such other factors, including the tax consequences to each party, as are necessary to consider the equities between the parties.

Depending on the type and the court’s order, alimony may have significant tax consequences.  In Tennessee, alimony laws have and continue to change to keep track with our changing society.  Make sure you have a Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee divorce attorney that understands these principles.

UNDERSTANDING CHILD CUSTODY LAW IN YOUR FRANKLIN, TENNESSEE DIVORCE

Children are often the primary focus in many divorce proceedings. Divorce litigants may disagree regarding the best interests of minor children. It is important to understand the statutory considerations when analyzing child custody, parental relocation and child support matters in Tennessee. Make sure you receive knowledgeable and experienced Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee divorce attorney before making child custody decisions.

In making child custody determinations, a primary residential parent and residential schedule which is in the child’s best interest must be set forth in an order.  This order is called a permanent parenting plan. Pursuant to T.C.A. 36-6-106, a Tennessee trial court shall order a custody arrangement that permits both parents to enjoy the maximum participation possible in the life of the child consistent with the factors set forth below, the location of the residences of the parents, the child’s need for stability and all other relevant factors.  Therefore, when a parenting plan is ordered, one must consider the following statutory factors:

(1) The strength, nature, and stability of the child’s relationship with each parent, including whether one (1) parent has performed the majority of parenting responsibilities relating to the daily needs of the child;

(2) Each parent’s or caregiver’s past and potential for future performance of parenting responsibilities, including the willingness and ability of each of the parents and caregivers to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and both of the child’s parents, consistent with the best interest of the child. In determining the willingness of each of the parents and caregivers to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and both of the child’s parents, the court shall consider the likelihood of each parent and caregiver to honor and facilitate court ordered parenting arrangements and rights, and the court shall further consider any history of either parent or any caregiver denying parenting time to either parent in violation of a court order;

(3) Refusal to attend a court ordered parent education seminar may be considered by the court as a lack of good faith effort in these proceedings;

(4) The disposition of each parent to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, education and other necessary care;

(5) The degree to which a parent has been the primary caregiver, defined as the parent who has taken the greater responsibility for performing parental responsibilities;

(6) The love, affection, and emotional ties existing between each parent and the child;

(7) The emotional needs and developmental level of the child;

(8) The moral, physical, mental and emotional fitness of each parent as it relates to their ability to parent the child;

(9) The child’s interaction and interrelationships with siblings, other relatives and step-relatives, and mentors, as well as the child’s involvement with the child’s physical surroundings, school, or other significant activities;

(10) The importance of continuity in the child’s life and the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment;

(11) Evidence of physical or emotional abuse to the child, to the other parent or to any other person. The court shall, where appropriate, refer any issues of abuse to juvenile court for further proceedings;

(12) The character and behavior of any other person who resides in or frequents the home of a parent and such person’s interactions with the child;

(13) The reasonable preference of the child if twelve (12) years of age or older. The court may hear the preference of a younger child upon request. The preference of older children should normally be given greater weight than those of younger children;

(14) Each parent’s employment schedule, and the court may make accommodations consistent with those schedules; and

(15) Any other factors deemed relevant by the court.

The disability of a parent seeking custody will not create a presumption for or against awarding that parent custody but may be considered.

Understanding these factors and how they relate to your facts is key in your Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee divorce action.

 Whether negotiating the best custody arrangements or requesting the trial court order custody arrangements, make sure to have an experienced attorney in Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee assist you in creating the best arrangements for your child.

Modification and Enforcement of Divorce Decrees

Experienced Franklin, Tennessee Divorce Lawyer Assisting in Modifications & Enforcement of Support and Custody Orders

Franklin, Tennessee divorce lawyer, Michael Fort has substantial experience assisting clients in the modification of child custody, support, and spousal maintenance orders, as well as the enforcement of court orders when a parent or former spouse is not meeting his or her custody or support obligations. Based in Franklin, Tennessee, Michael Fort serves clients throughout the Williamson County, Tennessee and Maury County, Tennessee area, including Franklin, Brentwood, Spring Hill and Columbia.

Modifying Custody Orders in Franklin, Tennessee

A party to a custody order may file a petition to request a modification to an existing parenting order if a material change in circumstances relating to the child has occurred. In addition to a material change in circumstance, the proposed modification must be in the children’s best interest.  Michael Fort is committed to achieving clients’ goals, and have helped many clients successfully modify custody and visitation orders.

Modifying Spousal Support Orders in Franklin, Tennessee

Modification to an alimony provision found in a Tennessee divorce decree requires a showing of a substantial and material change in circumstances since the entry of the support order.  The material change must have been unforeseeable, unanticipated or not within contemplation of the parties at the time of the final decree.  The material change must significantly impact either the obligor’s ability to pay or the need of the spousal support recipient.  

Some types of spousal support are not modifiable and modification of spousal support obligations can be complicated.  It is important you discuss potential modification of spousal support obligations with an attorney.  

Franklin, Tennessee Criminal Law Practice

Criminal charges can cause significant worry and may negatively affect employability and reputation. Since the inception of his legal practice Michael Fort has litigated criminal matters including: DUI, reckless driving, theft, criminal simulation, vandalism, sale and possession of scheduled narcotics, possession and sale of marijuana, underage consumption, assaults and domestic assaults.

It is important to have an attorney carefully review all facts regarding your criminal charge. Michael Fort has successfully litigated and negotiated hundreds of criminal law cases. Michael understands the possible results of criminal and DUI cases and will strive to obtain the best possible result in your criminal and DUI case. Let Michael Fort put his experience and knowledge to work for you.

Franklin, Tennessee Juvenile Law Practice

Closely related to Michael Fort’s Family Law and Criminal Law practice is his Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee Juvenile Court practice. While Juvenile Court is a court of limited jurisdiction, it has concurrent jurisdiction in child custody, child support and visitation matters where the parents are not married. Juvenile Court has exclusive jurisdiction in matters of dependency and neglect actions and juvenile delinquency. Michael has litigated countless juvenile court actions to a successful completion.

Admitted to:
Tennessee 2006

Member:

Williamson County Bar Association
Honorable Society of Cooper’s Inn 2006
Tennessee Bar

Education:

Juris Doctor, 2006
Bachelor of Science, Middle Tennessee State University 2001

Awards

2014 -2016 Super Lawyers Rising Star

2014- 2016 American Institute of Family Lawyers 10 Best

AVVO superb 10 rating

2015 Memphis Magazine Outstanding Young Lawyers in the Mid-South

2015 National Academy of Family Lawyers Top 10 under 40

2014 National Trial Lawyers Top 40 under 40

2014 National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Lawyers


Clients' Choice Award for 2012

MFort10Best

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FortSuperLawTrans