One of the most difficult challenges in a divorce is the division of property and assets. Tennessee courts divide assets based on what they believe is most fair, a process otherwise known as equitable division. While each spouse may believe they contributed most to the marital estate and they should receive a bigger share, they often both exit the divorce with less property than they’d like.

Most common assets are part of this division process, but luckily there are some assets that are excluded and that you may be able to keep by default.

Assets you acquired before the marriage

When dividing assets during a divorce, the judge will only consider assets that were obtained by either spouse during the marriage. If you have assets that you acquired before the marriage, they will remain yours after the marriage dissolves.

There are some exceptions to this rule, however, such as when these assets are improved upon or appreciate thanks to the substantial contribution of both spouses.

Anything given to you as a gift

Gifts are one of the most common exclusions from the asset and property division process. When one spouse receives an asset as a gift, even if it is from the other spouse, that asset is theirs once the marriage ends. This is also true for any assets left as an inheritance or passed down from one of the spouse’s relatives in a will. These can include anything from a lump sum of money, to tangible property such as cars or jewelry.

Compensation awarded to you in a prior personal injury case

While a more uncommon instance, compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, future lost wages and other damages that result from a personal injury lawsuit are that spouse’s to keep. After all, these assets are meant to sustain the health and well-being of the individual who was injured in an accident.

These three types of assets are not the only ones exempt from divorce, they just happen to be the more common ones. Most other assets acquired during the marriage, however, will be divided between both spouses over the course of the divorce process.