Going through a divorce in Tennessee is probably something you never imagined would happen to you, and it can be a trying and emotional time. Part of the stress is setting your affairs in order, including who is to take what property.
In Tennessee, the way property is divided during a divorce is based on what is considered to be marital property and what is separate property. Separate property can be kept by the respective owners, but marital property is subject to state law in terms of how it is to be divided. Knowing which items of your property are defined as marital property can help you to plan better for the final divorce hearing.
According to the Tennessee state legislature, generally speaking, any property that either you or your spouse acquired during the course of your marriage is considered to be marital property. The term marital property also applies to any property that either of you gained at any point during the marriage. This includes anything up to the final date of the divorce hearing, which means that if you are in the midst of divorce proceedings and have not yet had your final hearing, any new property either of you acquires before that hearing is still subject to the state’s laws of property division.
A signed Marital Dissolution Agreement could be used to divide up property, too. This is basically a contract prior to your final divorce hearing.
There are, of course, exceptions and not all property either spouse gains rights to during the marriage will be considered marital. For instance, if a spouse inherits money and keeps it in a separate account in only his or her name, that inheritance money will most likely be considered separate property as it has not been transmuted to marital property.
Marital property during Legal Separation is an entirely different legal proceeding where property division is concerned. Speak with an attorney to discuss your specific situation and questions about marital property and how Tennessee laws may apply to your situation.