A divorce requires you and your spouse to address a wide variety of concerns, regardless of whether you opt for an uncontested or contested one. The division of marital property plays a central role in any divorce and involves several steps before distribution across both parties.
Tennessee adheres to the practice of “equitable distribution” to achieve a fair even when uneven division of property between both spouses. Understanding what martial property is in Tennessee and what factors a judge takes into consideration helps you get clearer expectations of how the division and distribution of yours may unfold.
Although the law does not require you to hire a divorce attorney, you should consider doing so to protect your interests. Even in simple and amicable cases, a lawyer brings their detailed and current knowledge of the state’s divorce laws and can not only represent you during hearings but address any questions or concerns you may have at any point in the legal process.
What Constitutes Marital Property in Tennessee?
Property and assets both spouses have used during the marriage and/or have purchased through a shared bank account typically count as marital property in Tennessee.
What you acquired before entering the marriage, including debts such as student loans, normally qualify as individual property. If you have acquired something through your personal bank account during the marriage, or have received a gift from a third party, or an inheritance, those are also individual property.
If you have a prenuptial or postnuptial contract, you may also specify if certain assets are individual or marital.
What Are the Steps of the Marital Property Division Process?
- Identifying what property, assets, and debts are individual and which are marital
- Categorizing separate and marital property to know when and how you obtained each asset or debt
- Appraisal and valuation of all marital property
- Marital property division and distribution
What Factors Does a Tennessee Judge Consider When Distributing Marital Assets?
Tennessee law does not focus on distributing marital property evenly and a judge considers a wide range of factors to determine an equitable division of communal assets so both parties can move forward with adequate resources.
A Tennessee judge reviews each party’s:
- Physical and psychological health
- Individual assets
- Income and earning capabilities
- Contribution to the purchase and conservation and/or devaluation of communal property
- Involvement in raising any minor children
A judge also takes into account the duration of the marriage, any enforceable prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, and child custody arrangements to determine how to distribute the marital property across both spouses.
Providing full and detailed disclosure of your personal finances and assets is important when getting a divorce. Hiding assets in the hope to get a higher share of marital property is a criminal offense. If you suspect your spouse is concealing assets, you should bring it up to your lawyer so they can help you begin the discovery process. This way, you can increase your chances of receiving the share of marital property you deserve.
Are you considering filing for divorce in Chattanooga or its surrounding areas? Call Conner & Roberts, PLLC today at (423) 299-4489 or use our online form to schedule a consultation!