Marriage isn't just a union between two people, it also blends all of their stuff -- well, sort of. Despite what many divorcing couples may think, property division is complicated.
It doesn't happen in one discussion and the final decision may not concern either spouse's opinion. Here are just a few ways who gets what is decided.
A pre-established agreement
A prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement may help establish who gets what, depending on the provisions included in the document.
However, there may be assets in the agreement that no longer apply. Also, if circumstances have changed drastically, a spouse may be able to argue that the terms of the prenuptial agreement do not provide for equitable distribution between spouses
Divorces in Tennessee do not automatically grant one spouse half of the estate. Instead, assets should be divided between spouses in a way that is fair. If one spouse makes a substantially higher income, he or she will likely collect more.
Attorneys are needed to draft and file these agreements and are not likely to allow either party to enter into a bad deal, as this will likely result in further legal dealings in the future.
The first step
The first step each spouse should take to reach equitable distribution is to devise a list of marital property. This will include any asset acquired by either spouse following the marriage ceremony unless the asset was gifted to or inherited by one spouse exclusively.
Remember to include digital assets as well, such as large digital move libraries and/or games. Once you've made a list, collect bank statements and bills to show for your income and expenses. An attorney can help you reach a division that is considered equitable.
If the two of you have disagreements over how assets are divided or what they are worth, the court may be asked to make a decision. If couples contest the court's decision on the value of an object, an appraiser may be used.
Those who wish to avoid court and believe they can work amicably with their ex to come to a resolution may choose mediation. Divorce mediation uses an expert mediator to help ex-spouses work together and with their lawyers to negotiate an agreement.
To learn more about your property division options, talk to a Family Law attorney. A lawyer can draw on past experiences and expert legal knowledge to ensure that you reach the fairest agreement.