If you are going through a divorce in Tennessee, you may wonder how your marital assets will be divided. This can be especially challenging if you have high-value assets, like second homes, cars, boats, etc. But, one of the ways you can demystify divorce is through understanding it, including the factors that courts consider when dividing these assets in a Tennessee divorce.
Equitable distribution state
Our state divides marital assets based on what the judge determines is fair, which is known as equitable distribution. This does not mean equally, unless the judge finds equal division is fair.
Marital assets are those that were acquired during the marriage by either spouse or both spouses together. Separate assets are those that were owned by either spouse before the marriage or acquired by gift or inheritance during the marriage. Separate assets are generally not subject to division unless they were commingled with marital assets or used for the benefit of the marriage.
When dividing marital assets, courts will consider a number of factors. These factors include the duration of the marriage, and the age, health, income, earning capacity and needs of each spouse. The Tennessee family court judge will also consider the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, preservation or appreciation of the marital assets, and the value of each spouse’s separate assets. The tax consequences of the division are also considered as is the standard of living during the marriage and the fault or misconduct of either spouse, if relevant.
Who gets what?
Depending on these factors, courts may award a larger share of the marital assets to one spouse over the other. For example, if one spouse has a significantly higher income or earning potential than the other, or if one spouse made a greater contribution to the marital assets. This usually looks like caring for children or providing other support to help the other spouse advance their education or career.
Some types of assets may require special valuation or division methods. For example, if you own a second home or vacation property, you may have to sell it and split the proceeds, or one spouse may buy out the other’s interest. Alternatively, you may agree to co-own the property and share its use and expenses.
Similarly, if you own multiple cars, you may have to assign them to each spouse based on their value and usage. You may also have to account for any loans or leases on the vehicles. If you own a boat or other recreational vehicle, you may have to follow the same principles as for cars. You may also have to consider any maintenance costs or storage fees associated with the boat.