One of the toughest parts of divorce is dividing your assets. When these are significant, heightened emotions can cloud judgment.

Stories abound of spouses out to get each other. But working with a family law professional can make asset division an amicable process. It can also save you from costly, countless court proceedings.

If your assets are sizable, you can keep these tips in mind when dividing them with your spouse.

Follow Tennessee’s equitable distribution law

Including Tennessee, 41 out of 50 states follow the equitable distribution principle. This theory considers the natural inequality between each spouse in a divorce. A mediator or judge divides your property with these differences in mind, rather than straight down the middle. Both you and your spouse’s education level, incomes, personal expenses and well-being factor into the decision. If significant disparities exist between you two, knowing these laws can prepare you to compensate for a change in assets.

Hiding assets will not pay off

Equitable distribution may put you at a disadvantage. Thoughts of hiding assets may pass through your mind. But doing so can only harm you – both financially and personally – during and after the divorce process. In some cases, you might have to pay your spouse up to half sum of the assets hidden. You may even face jail time, depending on the amount hidden away.

Consider both you and your spouse’s needs

Divorce can get messy, and you may feel like you’ve received the short end of the deal. But try practicing compassion toward your spouse’s needs, no matter your feelings toward them. This makes achieving a fair settlement that much easier. Consider adding a mediator to the process, which makes asset division feel low stake. This can be true no matter the amount you’re dividing.

Financial fears abound during divorce. You may worry that your spouse will try and clean you out. But knowing about distribution laws and adopting a cooperative attitude can ease the process. You can then achieve a better outcome with dignity – and financial security to boot.