Anyone who has worked hard to provide a good life for his or her family deserves to know that his or her efforts were not in vain. Unfortunately, when a marriage breaks up it can be hard to predict what will happen to all the assets you've accumulated during a divorce.
There are no guarantees in life, ever (except death and taxes, as we all know), but that doesn't mean one shouldn't try to make the best of a situation. If knowledge is power, then consider arming yourself with some information about property division in Tennessee before going to court, or working towards an agreement.
Begin at the beginning: what is marital property in Tennessee?
Your marital property, or marital assets, is everything you and your soon-to-be former spouse accumulated during your marriage. Although some states still recognize the concept of "community property," whereby ownership is equal for all assets, and the split is as close to 50/50 as possible, Tennessee law views things differently.
Unless the divorcing parties can agree completely on a division of property proposal, it will be up to a judge to decide who gets what after a divorce. The judge will seek to divide the assets and liabilities equitably, meaning each person gets his or her fair share, with the judge having final say over the definition of "fair."
In making a ruling, the judge will consider various factors, including how long the marriage lasted, what retirements benefits will be available to each party and what each party tangibly contributed to the marriage. It may come as either a disappointment or a relief to learn that fault is not a consideration when determining asset distribution.
The court will assign a value to each asset, if the parties cannot agree on the value. Outside appraisers are often used for this purpose, if the value is not immediately apparent.
Exclusions to marital property
While the definition of what is marital property may seem highly inclusive, there will likely be assets in your possession eligible for exclusion from division. Such items may include:
- Anything either of you owned prior to the marriage
- Anything either of you acquired in exchange for separate property or with the proceeds of selling separate property
- Capital gains (an increase in value) on separate property
- Gifts and inheritances intended for one party and not the other
You should be prepared to prove an asset is separate property, in case your former partner decides to challenge your assertion.
A lawyer could be your most valuable asset
Going through a divorce can be a difficult process, and you may be full of uncertainty about your future. Questions and concerns about your assets may also be on your mind.
You may know what stuff is in your home, but a lawyer knows his stuff in court. Some people choose to take a stand on their own in court, but you may achieve better results with professional assistance. A local lawyer who understands the community and the needs of the people who live here will stand by you and defend your rights to your property during this important stage of your divorce.