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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

Property division in Tennessee divorce cases

One of the most hotly contested issues in many divorces is how the property and debts should be divided. While it is possible for spouses to make the determination of what to do with their property on their own, many couples are unable to reach amicable agreements on their own. This means that they will either need to try to negotiate agreements outside of court or allow the court to make the decision for them.

Tennessee is an equitable division state. This means that the property division is done in a manner that is considered fair rather than being divided evenly between the two spouses. In practice, judges normally divide property according to percentages that they assign. The property and debts that are subject to division are those that have accumulated during the marriage with a few exceptions.

Property that either spouse owned before their marriage is considered the separate property of that spouse. This means that it will not be divided in the divorce. When prior-owned property is commingled with marital assets, however, it may lose its protected status and be considered to be a part of the marital estate. Determining who gets the home may depend on whether it was purchased during the marriage or if one spouse instead owned it prior to the marriage. If it was separately owned by one spouse before the marriage, the house will likely remain in his or her possession.

Many different assets may be divided in divorces, including retirement accounts. When a person had a retirement account before his or her marriage, the amounts that accrue during the marriage itself may be included in the marital estate. A family law attorney may advise his or her client about the property that should be deemed to be separate and that which is likely to be considered marital property.

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