Dividing Assets and Liabilities
Most assets acquired by the parties during the marriage are considered joint or marital property. Likewise, most debts incurred during the marriage are considered joint obligations. Assets received as gifts, inheritance, or assets owned by the parties before the marriage are typically considered that spouse’s separate property.
Tennessee has statutes that define what assets are considered marital or separate property. Ask your lawyer to explain what factors the court will consider when determining whether an asset is marital or separate property.
Tennessee also has statutes that control the division of assets and debts. In a marriage of long duration, Tennessee courts start with the presumption that an equitable division of marital property is an equal division. This presumption can be rebutted. Ask your lawyer to explain to you the factors the court will consider when dividing assets and debts.
Be cautious when making an agreement that your spouse must pay any jointly-titled debts, especially if he or she is financially irresponsible. With jointly-titled debt, the creditor can sue either party for the unpaid debt. Your creditors could not care less about your agreement about who must pay a debt. A creditor will come after whoever they believe can pay the debt.
You are responsible for paying all of your attorney’s fees unless agreed to by the parties or ordered by the court. A judge may order one party to pay all or part of his or her spouse’s attorney’s fees. This is a discretionary decision for the court.
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Information provided by K.O. Herston: Knoxville, Tennessee Divorce, Matrimonial and Family Law Attorney.