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In divorce, Tennessee is a common law property state

In divorce court, there is often much talk of common law property states and community property states. Why does it matter what type of state you live in? Because marital property is counted and divided differently in common law property states versus community states. Montgomery county happens to reside in a common law property state, which has certain rules about asset division during a divorce.

The key to a fair and legitimate asset division during a divorce is seeking an equitable division for both parties. Marital property in common law property states is divided according to whose name it was taken out in. For example, if both spouses put their name on the mortgage, the home is equally each spouses. However, if one spouse buys a car in their name only then that car belongs to that one person.

In contrast, community property states are different because all property can be determined to be equitably owned or indebted by both parties regardless of name on deed. Depending on an individual marital property situation, the property division could work for or against you. Discovering a fair middle-ground often requires a full financial investigation and thorough count of personal assets and liabilities.

At the beginning the asset division process, the financial mountain may seem steep. But starting with copies of the last several years tax returns is a great place to begin the search. These returns may flag any large purchases or obtaining of assets a spouse may have forgotten about. Communication between the parties can aid in the process so both understand what is expected to come up during financial discussions.

Source: FindLaw, "Who Owns What in Marital Property?" Accessed Nov. 2, 2015

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