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Who gets what in Tennessee divorce?

One of the most contentious parts of divorce is agreeing on who gets what. Now that you are considering divorce, you may be wondering if you will get to keep the house of if your wife will get it. Who will end up with the vacation house? What about the cars, the retirement accounts and your other investments?

One of the first steps you should take to protect your assets is to learn more about Tennessee marital property laws. A Memphis divorce attorney can advise you on your options. Read further for an overview of how Tennessee handles the division of marital property.

Not a community property state

In Tennessee, you and your wife must file a Marital Dissolution Agreement if the two of you can agree on how to divide marital property. The request must include all of your marital property. You also cannot have minor children nor can your wife be pregnant.

If you cannot come to an agreement, a judge will make the decision for you. The decision will be based on multiple factors and will follow the principles of equitable distribution.

Equitable distribution of property

Under the equitable division method, the court will divide marital property in a way that it thinks is fair. There is a chance that the court will decide that your wife deserves a larger share in the marital property than you.

In coming to a decision, the judge will consider such things as your respective contributions to the marriage, earning potential of each of you, and even expected retirement benefits. The length of the marriage will also play a role in the decision.

Valuing marital assets

If you and your wife cannot agree on the value of certain assets, the court will decide for you. Usually, and outside appraiser will provide valuation services. Items with clear values, such as stock shares and bank balances, are taken at face value.

Separate property

In general, any property acquired during the course of your marriage is marital property. However, certain exceptions apply. For example, anything you purchased before your marriage is typically separate property. Also, gifts, inheritances, capital gains realized from property you owned before the marriage and compensation from injury claims are separate in the eyes of the state. Be aware that if it is too hard to distinguish separate property from marital property, it could lose its status.

If you are considering divorce, it is important to understand what you can expect when dividing marital property in Tennessee.

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