Any divorcing couple is sure to have acquired many possessions during their time together. Division of property is often a very emotional and contentious matter between divorcing spouses. While it's easiest on everyone involved if both spouses can come to an agreement on who gets what, this oftentimes does not happen.
In Tennessee, property of a divorcing couple is divvied up under a court-ordered process called equitable distribution. During the equitable distribution process, each spouse is allowed to present their case for why they believe they should be granted certain possessions.
It's important to note what is and is not included as property covered under equitable distribution. For example, possessions or property acquired by one spouse prior to the marriage are not considered marital property and are therefore not covered. Also not included under the terms of equitable distribution are gifts obtained by one spouse during the marriage via a will or inheritance.
When deciding which spouse gets what, courts do not take into account why the couple split. Factors they do take into consideration when making their decision include income, spousal contribution to the value of marital assets, age, health issues and length of marriage. The court's ruling on each possession is final and there is no appeals process.
A family law attorney can help Tennessee couples going through a divorce come to a consensus on who gets what. If the couple is not able to make decisions on their own regarding some or all of their marital property, each spouse should list what they want and be prepared to make a case for why they should be awarded permanent possession of such.
Source: Canon-McMillian Patch, "What's Up With Equitable Distribution?," Amanda Gillooly, Mar. 23, 2012