To have and to hold: A look at property division in TN

Tennessee uses an equitable distribution of property model to divide marital property. However, separate property may not be eligible for division.

Couples who are going through a divorce often claim that marital property and asset division is one of the hardest parts of the divorce process. As people break away from their marriage, they may have to fight for certain items that they want to take with them. For many people, it can be difficult to start over again after years of marriage. This is especially true when a Tennessee couple has amassed a wealth of property and assets during that time.

Equitable distribution of property

Tennessee follows an equitable distribution model for property division, which gives the court considerable power over dividing the property in a fair manner. Instead of splitting everything equally in half, the court determines who gets what after careful consideration of certain factors in the divorce. According to Tennessee code, the judge appointed to the divorce case will take into account the following details of the marriage:

· How long the marriage lasted.

· Whether one spouse contributed to the education or career of the other spouse.

· The physical and mental health of each spouse, and whether they require any ongoing medical treatment.

· Each spouse's current occupation and income, as well as their earning capability based upon education and training.

· The value of each spouse's separate property.

· Any tax consequences that would occur should the spouse sell the property in the future.

If one parent has primary custody of the children, the judge will often take that into consideration as well.

Discussing the differences between marital and separate property

Not all property and assets are considered marital. According to Forbes, marital property includes items and assets that have been obtained during the course of the marriage. While this clearly indicates real estate, furniture, vehicles, jewelry and the joint-savings account balance, many people don't think about other assets that may be considered marital as well. These include pension plans, business licenses, art and wine collections, life insurance policies, 401K plans and retirement benefits. Pricy country club memberships, patents and even royalty rights may also be deemed marital property if they were obtained during that time.

Separate property, on the other hand, are items that a spouse may have owned prior to entering into the marriage or obtained after the couple separated, as reported by Forbes. Any type of inheritance given to either party before, during or after the marriage may be labeled separate as well. In some cases, separate property that has been combined with marital property may become marital and subject to division in a divorce. For example, if one spouse owned property prior to the marriage, but had the other spouses name added to the title during the marriage, the property may be considered marital and may be divided equitably.

When to seek legal counsel

Knowing what to do during a divorce can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to separating property. It can be difficult to make these important decisions at such an emotional time. If you are going through a divorce, you may want to consider seeking the counsel of an established divorce attorney who can guide you through the process. A lawyer may be the best person to look out for your rights and make sure they are upheld in court.