When people file for divorce, how their property will be distributed is often one of their foremost concerns. Understanding whether Tennessee is an equitable distribution state, and how equitable distribution could impact your property division case, could help you get better results in your divorce.
To schedule a consultation with our team or learn more about our services, contact us online or via phone at (423) 299-4489.
Tennessee As an Equitable Distribution State
There are two ways states handle property division in the event of a divorce:
- If a state uses community property laws, then marital property is divided equally between the spouses during the divorce.
- If a state uses equitable division laws, then marital property is divided equitably, but not necessarily equally, between spouses.
Tennesse is an equitable distribution state.
Marital property is generally defined as any property (including assets and liabilities) acquired after marriage, with the exception of some property intended explicitly for one individual, such as an inheritance. Marital property generally includes many items people first assume are separate property, such as retirement and investment accounts. It's important to note that couples can use a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement to define property that would normally be considered marital as separate property.
Property that was initially the separate property of one individual can also transition into marital property over the course of a marriage if both parties use that property or contribute to its value.
How Does Property Get Divided in a Tennessee Divorce
To make things a little clearer, let's look at an example of how a marital home may be divided during a divorce.
Let's assume that one spouse bought the home prior to being married, but both spouses contribute to mortgage payments and renovations post-marriage. That would cause the house, which was initially the buyer's separate property, to transmute into marital property (unless otherwise specified in a marital agreement like a prenup or postnup).
However, that doesn't mean that both parties will necessarily get 50% of the house's worth during the divorce.
Suppose the buyer lived in the house alone for a substantial amount of time pre-marriage or made a substantial downpayment. In that case, they may receive more of the total marital home to reflect their greater investment in the property.
How the spouses distribute that property is up to them - if they can agree - or the court in the event they cannot reach an arrangement.
For example, let's say the original buyer receives 70% of the home's value, while their spouse receives 30%. The parties could sell the home and split the profits 70/30. Alternatively, if one party wants to remain in the house, they could buy out the other party for the percentage of the home that party owns.
At Conner & Roberts, PLLC, our team will help you find the best path forward in your property division case. To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (423) 299-4489.