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Property Division In Tennessee: Factors Considered In Divorce Cases

Many difficult decisions must be made when a couple decides to end a marriage and go through a formal divorce process. Where each will live, whether to contest custody of children, agree to joint care, and how marital property will be distributed must all be considered.

Residency and Filing Requirements

In order to file for divorce in Tennessee, the filing spouse must be a resident of the state at the time the grounds for divorce took place. If the grounds occurred outside of Tennessee, however, then one of the spouses must have been a resident for the six months prior to filing.

If you are unsure whether you meet these residency requirements, then you should contact a divorce attorney to determine the proper place to file.

Grounds for Filing

There are two types of divorces available: No-fault or at-fault.

  • No-Fault: If you have irreconcilable differences where both parties agree to a divorce and you are able to agree on all matters involving division of property and debt, custody and visitation, and child support, then you may file for a no-fault divorce.
  • At-Fault: There are many ways for a spouse to file for an at-fault divorce. Justifications include if either partner is impotent, one spouse has committed adultery, has been convicted of a felony with imprisonment, suffers from substance abuse, or serious neglect has occurred, among others.

Property Division Factors


Often both spouses mutually agree to divide marital property without involving the courts. However, when state involvement becomes necessary, Tennessee uses the “equitable distribution” method.

The court will initially classify which property and debt is marital and which is separate. Next, the court will assign each item a monetary value and ultimately divide the property in a fair (not necessarily equal) manner.

According to DivorceSupport.com, the court will consider the following factors when dividing the property.
  • The contribution of each spouse for the acquisition and preservation of the property
  • The economic situation of both spouses at the time of property division
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and health of the spouses
  • The employability and earning capacity of the spouses
The above list is not exhaustive and it is advisable to speak with a divorce attorney regarding the complexities involved in Tennessee’s property distribution.  

the law office of smith & lepp an association of attorneys in murfreesboro, tennesse, serves clients in nashville, smyrna, lebanon, McMInnville, manchester, shelbyville,woodbury, lavergne, franklin, brentwood, nolenville, arrington, spring hill, columbia, Rutherford county, cannon county, warren county, dekalb count bedford county, davidson county, williamson county, maury county and throughout middle tennessee.

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