Are you in the throes of a divorce? No doubt, having to divide assets with your soon to be ex can further complicate matters. After all, when two people get married, their lives and affairs intertwine, and they begin to operate as a single entity. When couples divorce, their communal life must be divided to reasonably account for each spouse’s needs and contributions.
In Tennessee, the division of marital assets is subjective. Therefore you’ll need the help of an experienced divorce attorney.
Let’s take a closer look at the process of dividing marital assets.
Does The Court Handle Division Of Assets?
Property and asset division can be conducted by the court or between the couple. Divorce mediation with the help of a skilled divorce lawyer can help you, and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse reach an agreement regarding the split of property. If reaching an agreement during mediation is impossible, the courts will have to make these critical decisions.
Equitable Division – What Property Is Divided?
Tennessee is an equitable division state, which means only marital property is subject to division during a divorce. Separate assets brought into the marriage by the couple are not divided. The equitable division of property is generally limited to that acquired during the marriage. Some types of property are exempt, though:
- Personal injury awards
- Property that was inherited or gifted by a spouse
- The increase in value or income generated by separate property if not achieved by one spouse or both.
However, it is important to note that a pre or post-nuptial agreement can supersede equitable division laws. On the other hand, marital assets are assets acquired during the marriage derived from earning income or gained by merging separate assets.
Marital assets can encompass:
- Homes and vacation properties
- Joint bank accounts and cash
- Investment accounts and stocks
How Does The Court Divide Assets?
The courts don’t divide marital assets according to a set formula. When dividing a marital estate, a court divides it in an equitable rather than equal manner. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect the split to be 50/50. A Tennessee family law court will take into account various factors when determining how to divide marital assets reasonably:
- How long you and your spouse were married
- The earning capacity of each partner and future capabilities of acquiring income and assets
- Age, as well as the physical and mental health of each partner
- The economic stability of each partner at the time of the divorce
- Tax consequences and additional foreseeable expenses that come with the acquisition of certain assets
- The estate of each spouse during the marriage
Identifying Marital Property In A Divorce
The success of a Tennessee divorce case is dependent on a fair division of all assets. Before filing for divorce, it’s essential to obtain statements on all banking and investment accounts. Additional documents related to the assets shared should be available to both spouses. Tax returns can provide information on assets that generate income.
Both parties will have to provide written discoveries and interrogatories of vital financial information.
In situations where one spouse doesn’t have the necessary information regarding marital assets, an experienced divorce attorney can subpoena banks, investment companies and acquire the deposition of the other partner.
Is Commingled Property Considered Marital Property?
Spouses often combine their marital and non-marital assets upon marriage. Property and assets that were commingled become marital assets. Dividing property that was once separate can be difficult, and in most cases, the courts seek to make the division of such properties fair.
Houses purchased before marriage – how do they affect marital settlements? In Tennessee, homes are considered real property. Dividing real property differs from other types of assets. According to the law, when a person marries, the non-titled spouse obtains a marital interest in the property.
Typically, the judge will determine what the non-titled spouse contribution is towards the property. If that spouse makes mortgage payments, helps pay taxes, and assists in home improvement projects, the judge can award them a fair share in the appreciation value of the home.
You Can Rely On Hunter Fowler Law
Divorces get messy. You need an experienced divorce attorney who is an expert in family law—someone who will help you set realistic goals—someone that you trust.
Whether you’re filing for divorce or have been served divorce papers, you may feel like your world has come crashing down around you. It’s a very vulnerable and confusing place to be in, which is why you need the best legal counsel possible to navigate all the ins and outs of divorce law.
Attorney Hunter Fowler has provided legal services to many individuals in your exact situation and will work with you through every detail of your divorce proceedings to ensure the final outcome is what you want for yourself and your family. Contact Hunter Fowler today to get the legal counsel you deserve.