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Dividing property in a Tennessee divorce

A divorce in Tennessee can involve many emotionally and financially difficult issues, including custody of minor children, payment of spousal maintenance (alimony) and property division of the couple’s assets. If a couple cannot agree on the resolution of these issues, the court will impose its own solution based upon the pertinent statute.

With respect to property division, couples who marry in their twenties and then end the marriage after a few years will be unlikely to have accumulated significant assets, although one or both may own substantial assets acquired before the marriage. Dividing property in such cases is usually not difficult, but for couples who have been married for a number of years or who have accumulated significant assets during the marriage, property division can be very difficult.

Tennessee is an “equitable property division” state. The court will first segregate “marital property” from “separate property”; marital property is property that has been acquired during the marriage, regardless of which spouse made the acquisition. Separate property is property that was owned by one of the spouses prior to the marriage or was acquired during the marriage by bequest or gift.

After separating out marital property, the court will also divide the marital property equitably according to the factors identified in the statute, such as the duration of the marriage, the age and relative health and earning capacity of the spouses and the ability of each spouse to acquire future assets and income.

Anyone who owns substantial assets and is contemplating a divorce can obtain significant assistance by consulting an attorney who specializes in high asset divorces. An experienced Franklin divorce lawyer I can provide an analysis of separate and marital assets, the potential division that can be ordered by the court and strategies for obtaining a beneficial division of marital assets.

Source: Tenn. Code Ann. §36-4-121, “Distribution of marital property,” accessed on Jan. 11, 2016