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Property division and substantial contribution in a divorce

| May 20, 2021 | High Asset Divorce |

Any Tennessee divorce will have its complications even if the parties are on relatively good terms and simply want to end the marriage and move forward. If there is lingering ill will, it will undoubtedly make the process more difficult. When there are major assets at stake and a dispute as to how they will be divided, there is the foundation for significant problems in forging a settlement. For those who have accrued wealth with one spouse viewed as the main breadwinner, there could be an argument about how much the other spouse contributed to the success, if at all. With property division and vast assets, it is important to understand how substantial contribution will be factored in.

Property division and substantial contribution in a high-asset divorce

Tennessee bases its property division determination in a divorce on equitable distribution. This means that the courts strive to come to a fair split of the marital property. “Fair” does not necessarily mean “equal.” When dividing a significant portfolio with properties, financial accounts, real estate and a business, it can be complicated to come to a reasonable solution. When assessing marital property and how substantial contribution factors in, its preservation and appreciation will be gauged.

This can include such hard to define factors like a person who functioned as a homemaker while the other spouse ran a business or worked to accumulate the assets. The spouse claiming substantial contribution might also have paid for the earning spouse’s education or served as an adviser. These issues can be difficult to quantify. If the earning spouse had a business or a well-funded portfolio at the time of the marriage and its increase was negligible or had nothing to do with the other spouse, then substantial contribution can be hard to prove and it may be categorized as separate property.

With high-asset divorce and property concerns, experienced advice is key

Whether it is from the perspective of the spouse who claims to have been a substantial contributor to the acquisition of wealth and property or the spouse who claims to have done the work, it is imperative to have professional assistance to formulate a strategy with how to proceed. In some complex, high-asset divorce cases, there is room to negotiate and avoid an extended court case. In others, the sides are dug in to their position. From the start, it is useful to have experienced guidance. A consultation can yield information regarding property division and other areas of family law.

 

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