Tennessee State Divorce Laws: How Property Is Divided

Every day, there are 141 divorces in Tennessee State.

When going through this process, there are Tennessee State divorce laws to keep track of. It can be challenging to determine how everything gets divided between kids, pets, homes, vehicles, and bank accounts.

To make matters worse, Tennessee State divorce laws are not always straightforward about what each spouse will walk away with. Eventually, it varies case by case.

But there are some resources to get a more solid idea of what you might be walking into with divorce proceedings in Tennessee. With this information, you can be more educated and hopefully make the whole process run a little smoother.

Keep reading for more information on Tennessee State divorce laws concerning property and homeownership.

Tennessee State Divorce Laws Concerning Property

Tennessee State's laws surrounding home and assets following a divorce get confusing. They vary greatly based on the conditions of the divorce.

It's important to note that Tennessee is not an actual “no-fault” state. This means that the courts are not interested in determining which spouse was at fault in the divorce. Instead, just one spouse must declare the marriage has broken beyond repair or has "irreconcilable differences."

Additionally, Tennessee is an "equitable division" state. This requires all property obtained before the marriage is called separate property, not community property.

There are exceptions for things like inheritances or gifts. Otherwise, property acquired during the marriage is under consideration as divided by equitable distribution by both spouses. This same policy applies to debts acquired, as well.

With this in mind, you may be thinking—is Tennessee State a 50/50 divorce state? In fact, it is not. Instead, Tennessee State is a "fair and equitable” state.

This may result in a 50/50 split in the right circumstances. But usually, property and liabilities divide between the divorcing parties fairly and equitably.

Property Split

Under Tennessee law, 11 factors are viewed by the court to equitably split marital assets:

1) The length of the marriage

2) The age, physical and mental health, professional skills, employability, earning ability, estate, financial liabilities, and financial needs of each spouse

3) The tangible or intangible contribution by a spouse to the education of the other

4) The ability of each spouse's future purchase of assets and income;

5) The contribution of each party to the purchase, maintenance, appreciation, depreciation, or dissipation of the marital or separate property, including the assistance of a spouse to the marriage as a homemaker, wage earner, or parent, with the contribution of a spouse as homemaker or wage earner to be given the same weight if each party has fulfilled its role; (who contributed more, who performed the marital role more, and why)

6) The value of the individual property of each spouse

7) The estate of each spouse at the time of the marriage

8) The economic factors of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective

9) The tax consequences to each spouse, costs related to the sale of the asset, and other expenses associated with the asset

10) The number of social security benefits available to each spouse

11) Other factors as necessary to consider the equities between the parties.

Tennessee law recognizes each spouse's separate property in resolving property division. If one spouse has considerably more separate property, the other spouse is likely to be awarded a more significant division of marital property.

The same rules apply to debts—including mortgages, credit card debt, health bills, and other payments owed.

Debts are subject to marital division during a divorce, just the same as assets.

Essential Factors in Dividing Property

With all of these factors, the actual divorce cases and the ensuing division of assets can grow very complex. Read on to answer—how is property divided in a divorce in Tennessee State?

When There Is an Enforceable Agreement

Enforceable agreements are upheld by the judge in most cases. These contracts require the consent of both parties and can take several forms.

Examples include:

-Prenuptial agreements

-Post-nuptial agreement (a prenup signed during the marriage)

-Separation contracts (a contract signed during an informal breakup)

-Settlement agreements (an agreement made an on-court record or signed during divorce proceedings)

Within these documents, there is likely a pre-arranged agreement on the distribution of assets in the event of a divorce. As both spouses have already signed off on this agreement, it's easy for the court to simply follow those terms.

Though these are legally binding agreements, the judge can throw them out in limited situations.

When One Party Has Separate Property

In most divorces, each spouse can keep their own separate property. Property isn’t divided 50/50—unless other factors would make this split unfair. Again, this is to maintain a fair and equitable distribution of assets.

When Property Is Partly Separate, Partly Community

Many times, family ones are somewhat separate property and slightly community property. One example of this situation is where the down payment came from one spouse's individual account. But the mortgage remains community debt.

In cases like this, the spouse with their own property interest is more likely to be awarded the residence in the divorce. But, this is not set in stone. Again, Tennessee is a fair and equitable state—meaning all of these guidelines are subject to modification based on the case.

When One Spouse Cannot Afford Property

Courts tend to avoid awarding the house to one spouse if they are unable to afford it.

In most divorces, the mortgage is in both parties' names, and a default would damage both spouse's credit scores-not good. The spouse with lower earnings usually gets child support and/or spousal support (alimony).

But in shorter-term marriages where a child and/or spousal support is not required, the higher-earning spouse typically keeps the house. A notable difference is if the house was the other spouse's separate property.

When Business Is Involved

Granting property grows more complex when one party runs a business that is indistinguishably linked to the property. This might be a daycare service or an adult-care facility within the home. In these cases, this spouse is more likely to be granted both the house and the business.

When Kids Are Involved

When dependent kids are involved in the divorce, the court often tries to keep them in the family home they grew up in. In this situation, the spouse who gets primary custody of the kids is more likely to be given the house, as well.

This is done to attempt to keep life interruptions as low as possible for the kids involved.

The court also tries to limit overall interruptions to the divorcing spouses, as well. If one spouse has already moved out and the other is still in the home—they are more likely to get it to prevent additional relocation.

What’s Next?

Most of the time, courts in Tennessee will avoid making the sale of a home. They will try to locate the fairest and most equitable way to resolve which party is awarded the house.

But realistically, this does not always work out as intended. For a variety of reasons, one spouse may not be able to hold on to the home. It may be better to sell the house and split up the money than to come to some other arrangement.

But after a lengthy divorce process, going through the real estate process might seem even more troublesome. Between the realtors, lenders, appraisers, inspectors, and all other middlemen, it can add even more stress to the situation.

Instead, make it simple. Selling your home for cash guarantees a quick and easy process—without all the middlemen. This way, you can wash your hands of the entire situation much quicker.

You do not have to stress over the process of fixing up, staging, and listing the home. Plus, you do not have to worry about realtor fees.

In Tennessee State, Home Buyers of Clarksville are here to take the weight of selling a home after divorce off your shoulders.

Turning to the Experts

Tennessee State divorce laws can be stressful enough. Don't let the troubles of deciding what to do with a property continue to weigh you down.

Instead, look for a trusted partner to purchase your house for cash. This makes the whole process simple, with no need for the time and money required by the traditional real estate market.

When it comes to buying homes for cash in Tennessee State, look no further. We’ll work closely with you to buy burdensome houses quickly, without the costs of the middleman.

During an already stressful time, the process of selling your house doesn't have to be. Get a cash offer for your home today!

Give us a call anytime at (931) 322-4949 or

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Here at Home Buyers of Clarksville, we focus on providing a seamless home selling process to Clarksville homeowners. If you have a house that you need to sell fast, we will give you a fair cash offer in 48 hours or less. Please contact us today to get started and get your no-obligation cash offer.

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