The longer you have stayed married, the more property you likely share with your spouse. The two of you may have bought a house together. You may have co-signed your spouse’s vehicle loan and jointly funded a retirement savings account.
When you decide to divorce, you will need to split all of that property and possibly your debts as well. Does the property division process in Tennessee require that you and your ex split everything exactly in half?
An equal split is not always a fair solution
The idea of a 50-50 property split stems from community property laws. In some states, the family courts presume that property a couple purchased or earned during a marriage is community property. That shared ownership means both spouses have equal rights to those assets in the event of a divorce, often resulting in a 50-50 division of property.
However, Tennessee is an equitable distribution state. The goal is not to split everything in half but to split it up in a way that is fair. What is fair or equitable depends on numerous factors, ranging from how long you stayed married to how much each of you earned during the marriage. The courts can order you to sell assets, close accounts or assume debts to create a fair property division order.
Any of your debts and your income during your marriage could play a role in property division. Even assets or accounts in only one spouse’s name will be subject to division, unless it qualifies as separate property. Assets from before marriage and inherited property are frequently separate property.
Learning more about the rules for divorce in Tennessee can help you to prepare.