Dividing Assets In A Divorce

One of the things that must happen when a couple gets a divorce is the division of the marital assets. The law may be differ from state to state so it is important to know the law in your state. If you live in Tennessee, and you need to understand how to divide marital assets, look no further than the Law Office of Donna Wagner. The state of Tennessee is an equitable distribution state as explained below.

What Is Equitable Distribution?

Tennessee is an equitable distribution state. Equitable distribution does not mean the parties must divide the assets so that each person receives equal shares. Rather, it means that the parties should receive a fair distribution of the assets as well as the debts of the marriage. If a couple cannot reach a settlement out-of-court, then the court will decide what is a fair award for each party. However, before the court can come to a  decision about how to allocate property, a determination must be made as to which assets are marital, and which ones are separate.

Marital Property vs. Separate Property

At first glance, it might seem that marital property is any asset acquired during the marriage and that separate property is any asset acquired before the marriage. While that is not entirely inaccurate, the classification of assets is a little more complicated than that. To explain further:

“Marital property” means all real and personal property, both tangible and intangible, acquired by either or both spouses during the course of the marriage up to the date of the final divorce hearing and owned by either or both spouses as of the date of filing of a complaint for divorce, except in the case of fraudulent conveyance in anticipation of filing, and including any property to which a right was acquired up to the date of the final divorce hearing, and valued as of a date as near as reasonably possible to the final divorce hearing date.

“Separate property” means:

(A) All real and personal property owned by a spouse before marriage, including, but not limited to, assets held in individual retirement accounts (IRAs) as that term is defined in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, compiled in 26 U.S.C., as amended;

(B) Property acquired in exchange for property acquired before the marriage;

(C) Income from and appreciation of property owned by a spouse before marriage except when characterized as marital property under subdivision (b)(1);

(D) Property acquired by a spouse at any time by gift, bequest, devise or descent;

(E) Pain and suffering awards, victim of crime compensation awards, future medical expenses, and future lost wages; and

(F) Property acquired by a spouse after an order of legal separation where the court has made a final disposition of property.

When Properties Are Mixed

What if the couple mixes the two types of properties? They might be considered marital and could complicate the process of classifying and awarding the assets. In such a situation the Court might:

Declare some asset as separate, handing it back to the original owner

Your best bet is to receive legal assistance, particularly when the mingling of assets may have occurred. If you need legal assistance due to a divorce, and you are from Mount Juliet, Tennessee, then you need to contact Donna Wagner, a divorce and family lawyer.

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