How Is Property Divided During A Tennessee Divorce?

In Tennessee, property division can be handled by either the court or the couple getting divorced. For instance, if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are able to reach an agreement regarding property division - whether through the help of your attorneys, divorce mediation or collaborative divorce - you can outline this understanding in your marital dissolution/settlement agreement. However, if you cannot agree, the court will have to make the decision for you.

What Does A Court Consider When Dividing Property?

When it comes to property division during divorce, Tennessee is considered an equitable distribution state. Essentially, this means that marital property is divided fairly and reasonably, not necessarily 50-50.

Tennessee courts will look at several different factors when determining how to equitably divide property during divorce. Some of these factors include:

  • The number of years you and your spouse were married
  • The ages and physical and mental health of you and your spouse
  • The skills and earning capacities of you and your spouse, as well as your abilities for future acquisitions of income and assets
  • The financial needs and liabilities of you and your spouse
  • The individual contributions of you and your spouse to the acquisition of property and assets, including contributions as a homemaker

However, these are merely a few of the many factors a court may consider during the property division process.

Must The Court Divide All Property?

Under Tennessee law, only marital property is subject to equitable division upon divorce. Specifically, marital property is defined as any assets or property acquired by either you or your spouse while you are married. In many marriages, there are substantial amounts of marital property, particularly if you have been married for several years. In fact, marital property may include:

  • Homes and vacation properties
  • Cars
  • Retirement accounts, including pensions and 401(k)s
  • Bank accounts and cash
  • Stocks and other investment accounts
  • Businesses

Conversely, separate property - defined as any property owned by either you or your spouse prior to marriage, or property acquired by gift or inheritance - is not subject to division.

Dividing A Business During Divorce

The process of dividing marital assets can become quite complex, especially when large assets need to be valued and split. For instance, even if one spouse owns a business prior to marriage, any appreciation or increase in value of that business during marriage may be marital property, especially if the second spouse actively contributes to the growth of the business.

In cases such as this, the court will have to apportion out the value of the business between the spouses, taking into account which amounts are considered separate property and which are marital property. Oftentimes, the court will award the entire business to the spouse who owned it prior to marriage, but then award other marital assets to the other spouse to offset the difference. No matter the court's decision, however, the process can be very complicated, often requiring the assistance of a lawyer.

Contact Us Today For A Free Consultation

If you have questions about how property is divided during a Tennessee divorce, contact the Law Office of Lisa Collins Werner to speak to a skilled divorce lawyer today. With more than 23 years of legal experience, attorney Lisa Collins Werner understands the intricacies of property division.

For a FREE 15-minute consultation, reach out to us online or call us at 865-973-9286. From our office in Knoxville, we serve clients throughout Knox County and the surrounding communities, including Sequoyah Hills and Farragut.