You and your spouse have some major choices to make if divorce is in your future. As a couple living in Tennessee, your divorce will be subject to Tennessee state laws.
If you go to court to settle your issues, a judge will interpret state statutes when deciding how to split your property or arrange for shared custody. However, one of the first decisions you make in your divorce might be not to litigate but rather to settle it outside of court.
Through collaboration or mediation, you could potentially arrange your own property settlement and custody plan. To ensure a fair and reasonable outcome, it’s important to understand how property division would occur if you litigated so that the terms you request would be similar to those you would receive in court.
Tennessee is an equitable distribution state, like many others
Once you officially get married, you and your spouse share your income and ownership. Only a valid marital agreement limits the rights of either spouse to the property and income of the other. If you have to litigate the property division process, then a Tennessee judge will apply the state equitable distribution statute to your assets.
They will consider many different elements from your marriage, like the length of the marriage and your earning potential, as they attempt to decide on a solution that is fair. However, state law explicitly forbids them from considering marital misconduct like adultery when splitting up your property. Equitable distribution standards give judges a little bit of leeway to create unique solutions that reflect your family’s circumstances.
Fair outcomes look different depending on the family
There is no sure way to predict the solution to an equitable distribution case. Custody of your children, health issues and many other unique considerations will influence what the judge thinks is best.
Taking an honest look at your marital circumstances could help you decide what kinds of requests and concessions might be appropriate given the specific details of your marriage. Knowing the details of Tennessee divorce laws can help you push for a fair outcome either in court or when settling outside of court.