Tennessee Divorce & Finances

The division of joint finances is one of the most unpleasant aspects of a divorce, and can lead to many questions about how the court makes these determinations. How is joint property divided? What are the tax consequences of your divorce? Do you and your ex-spouse have estate planning issues to resolve?  Will the court award spousal support payments, and if so, how much and for how long? The following are laws specific to Tennessee Divorce and Finances.


Tennessee Property Division/Community Property/Debts:

Tennessee is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that marital property will be distributed on terms considered to be fair. Note that “fair” does not necessarily mean equal. In the equitable distribution adjudication, the court will consider, among other things, the contributions of each spouse to the marital estate, the total value of the properties of the parties, the economic circumstances of each party, any misconduct that may have occurred, and the amount of spousal support awarded, if any.  

Tennessee Spousal Support:

There is no automatic obligation for either spouse to support the other in the event of a divorce. Where the court does grant spousal support (also called maintenance or alimony), it does so on a case-by-case basis and in consideration of many factors, including:

  1. The financial resources of the party seeking support,
  2. The time and input of resources necessary for the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment and sufficient education and/or training for that employment,
  3. The established subjective standard of living during the marriage,
  4. Marriage duration,
  5. Physical and emotional condition of the party seeking maintenance,
  6. The ability of the would-be payor spouse to meet his/her own needs while meeting those of the other spouse, and
  7. Any other factors the court deems relevant.

Note that the spousal award amount and duration, once determined, are not set in stone. The court may modify or eliminate the award when circumstances justify doing so, such as when the receiving party enters into another marriage or similar arrangement, or either party experiences a material change in financial circumstances. 

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