Accomplished Franklin Divorce Attorney Guiding You through Property Division
Skilled representation for clients in Franklin, Brentwood, Columbia and beyond
One of the most challenges aspects of any divorce is the divisions of debts and assets: who keeps the house, or the cars, or the family dog? Even the most amicable of break-ups can strain when it comes to dividing your property and your accounts, especially for couples who own their own business, maintain a robust stock portfolio, or have significant assets.
At the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we know how hard you worked for your belongings – and how difficult it can be to part with them, for financial or sentimental reasons. Our divorce attorneys in Columbia, Franklin and Brentwood have provided thoughtful, practical guidance for clients attempting to separate their lives one piece of artwork at a time. Our goal is to ensure that the division of your assets proceeds as smoothly as possible, in a way that is just and fair to you.
How does Tennessee divide property in a divorce?
Tennessee is an equitable distribution state. This means that everything you own will be divided equitably. However, equitable does not mean a 50/50 split; it means that, unless you and your spouse can agree to exactly how you wish to split your debts and assets, a judge will make that decision for you. His or her decision will be made after reviewing a variety of factors, including but not limited to:
- The earning power and income of each spouse
- The value of all marital property
- The overall health and age of each person
- Prior alimony or child support agreements
- Existing pre- and post-nuptial agreements
The judge reviews these elements because he or she must have an accurate understanding of what property you each have, how much it is truly worth, and what kinds of financial considerations you face upon divorce. For this reason, it is imperative that you are honest with your divorce lawyer about your assets. Judges do not like to be lied to: if they discover one of you is hiding assets or lying about how much money you actually have, it could affect the outcome of your case. (So can lying about the amount of debts you have, or about how those debts were accrued.)
What is the difference between marital property and separate property in Tennessee?
All property is divided in two ways: marital property, which belongs to both spouses, and separate property, which is not.
Marital property includes anything to which both spouses have contributed. Thus, money in a joint bank account is considered marital property, even if only one spouse actually contributes to it. The home you bought together, the savings you put aside, the furniture you purchased: all of these are considered marital property.
Separate property is that which was brought into the marriage, like a trust fund or an inheritance. Separate property will not be divided, though it can be considered marital property if it is comingled. For example, if you remove money from your trust fund and put it in a joint checking account, then that money is now marital property, and therefore subject to equitable division.
A note about property division and pets: One of the questions we hear the most in our offices is “Who keeps the dog?” (Or, of course, the cat, or the horse, or the ferret, etc.) You may think of your furry companions as members of your family, but the state of Tennessee does not. Like with all other pieces of property, a judge will determine who keeps the family pet if you and your spouse cannot agree. There is no set formula for deciding who will retain custody of the animals, so if you are fighting to keep your dog, you will need evidence that proves you are a better fit.
How divorcing your spouse could affect your business
Business owners face some unique challenges when it comes to divorce, because business assets can be, and often are, comingled with personal assets. Furthermore, unless one spouse owns the business and the other spouse contributes literally nothing to it at all, a judge may award both spouses part of the profits.
For example, if you own a furniture store, and your spouse occasionally comes in to help answer the phones, or balances the books every night, or purchased some of the shelving in your store with money for a joint account, then he or she may be able to claim a portion of the business proceeds. If you own the business together, however, you face additional hurdles. In these cases, it is a smart choice to work with a Columbia divorce attorney who also has experienced working with business owners and operators, like the members of our firm often do.
Aggressive strategies regarding asset division for clients in and around Brentwood, Franklin and Columbia
Dividing your assets is hard; choosing the right family lawyer shouldn’t be. At the Law Offices if Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates, we help you make the tough choices about what you want, what you need, and what you can live without. If your spouse cannot be swayed, we stand right to fight for your rights in a trial setting. To learn more about our services, or to schedule a consultation with an experience divorce lawyer in Columbia, Franklin or Brentwood, please call 615.412.1121, or fill out our contact form. We serve clients throughout the area, including those in Spring Hill, Murfreesboro, Lawrenceburg and Pulaski, Tennessee.