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What happens to my property in a Tennessee divorce?

If you are considering divorce, you will be aware that you cannot keep all your property. Your spouse will also claim some. Each state has different laws regarding how to divide assets in a divorce.

How does Tennessee categorize property in a divorce?

A Tennessee court will divide your property into two categories: marital property and separate property. You only need to divide your marital property. To understand what falls into which category, it is easiest to define what counts as separate property first. Separate property can include: 

  • The property you owned before you married
  • Capital gains during your marriage on anything you owned before you married
  • The property you inherited while married
  • Property someone gave you as a gift while married, including if your spouse gave it to you
  • The property you acquired while married in exchange for a property you owned before marriage
  • Any civil damages which were awarded to you

A court must divide property equitably

Once you work out what is marital property, the court will seek to divide it fairly. It can base its decision upon several factors, including:

  • How long you were married
  • Your health
  • Your earning potential
  • The value of the separate property you hold
  • Your future financial prospects and needs
  • Support you provided to your spouse to educate themself or further their career
  • Contributions you made to the marriage or to improve a marital property

There is no hard and fast way to determine what a court will decide is an equitable division of your marital property. You may be able to agree with your spouse and ask the court to sign that off. It will allow you and your spouse to have greater control over how you divide your property.