How Does the Law in TN Treat the Division of Property in a Divorce?
15 July 2023IN: Divorce
Tennessee is an equitable distribution state, which means that the law requires judges to divide marital property in the fairest possible way, even if it results in an unequal division.
Stand-up comedians have been cracking jokes about ex-wives taking half of their ex-husbands’ hard-earned money since the earliest days of no-fault divorce, but it has never been the case, at least not in Tennessee. First, your ex-spouse is not entitled to a share of all your property; only marital assets are subject to division in a divorce. This means that your ex probably will not be able to get her hands on the fishing boat you bought before you were married or the house you inherited from your uncle, provided that you and your spouse never lived in the house together. Not only does your ex not get a share of your separate property, but she also might not get half of the marital property. To find out more about the equitable distribution of marital property in divorce cases, contact a Murfreesboro divorce lawyer.
How Does the Court Decide What is Fair?
“Equitable” is just a legalese way of saying “fair,” and if you have ever witnessed your children’s sibling rivalry, you know that “fair” is a subjective term. Tennessee law does not have a mathematical formula for determining the division of marital property like it does for child support, but it does aspire to certain principles of justice, such as the following:
- If the parties’ marriage was brief, the court aims to return each former spouse to a similar financial position to the one he or she held before the marriage. It aims to divide the couple’s finances as if the marriage had never happened. In practice, this usually means that there is not much marital property to divide. When young couples divorce after a brief marriage, it is usually the case that neither one owns much. When whirlwind romances begin later in life and end quickly, both parties usually own more separate property than marital property.
- After a long marriage, almost all the assets owned by either spouse are marital. In this case, the court aims to keep both spouses in the same financial position they enjoyed during the marriage. In practice, no one gets richer, and both former spouses feel the pinch.
- Unequal division of property is a more desirable solution than alimony. The court aims to make the former spouses independent of each other. If you have a high income and your ex is reentering the workforce at minimum wage after being a stay-at-home mom, the court may rather award her the house than order you to pay her enough alimony to afford the mortgage on a new house.
Contact David L. Scott About the Division of Marital Property in Divorce
A family law attorney can help you get your fair share of marital property in divorce. Contact David L. Scott in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, or call (615)896-7656 to set up a consultation.