Chattanooga Property Division Lawyer

Many questions may arise during a pending divorce or legal separation.At the top of this list is what is to be done with the couple’s property. Family courts in Chattanooga must follow strict rules concerning the legal theory behind property division, but retain broad powers to make a final decision.

It is essential that all parties to splits take proper actions to protect their assets. This includes characterizing property as marital property, separate property, and establishing a claim to ownership of these items.

A Chattanooga property division lawyer could help to fight for an equitable distribution of property following a divorce or legal separation. This includes establishing a party’s ownership of items prior to marriage, delineating their control over that property during marriage, and arguing for a fair, equitable distribution of property at trial. Contact a lawyer for the help you need today.

What are the Legal Standards for Property Division?

Courts in Chattanooga have broad powers to make decisions concerning the futures of parties to a divorce or separation. Perhaps nowhere is this clearer than in the concept of property division. The goal of the court is to place both parties on equitable and fair financial footing moving forward.

According to Tennessee Code Annotated §36-4-121(a)(1), courts must make this distribution in a just manner without regard to fault for the end of the relationship. As a result, equitable distribution doesn’t always mean a 50/50 split and courts may order a forced sale of a home or business to facilitate an equitable distribution. However, this equitable process only applies to marital property. A Chattanooga property division lawyer could provide clarification as to what the law means when it mandates an equitable distribution of property.

Which Property is Subject to Division?

Any couple that is enduring a divorce or legal separation after sharing a home needs to take stock of their marital property. According to Tennessee Code Annotated §36-4-121(b)(1)(A), marital property is all real and personal property that a couple acquires from the date of marriage until the date of final divorce or separation. This specifically includes the cash value of any vested or unvested pensions, stocks, or retirement accounts. It is vital that parties to a separation or divorce make an accurate measurement of their marital assets.

Just as it is essential to measure marital property, it is just as important to delineate separate property. Separate property is not subject to equitable distribution and should return to the party that brought it into the marriage. Tennessee Code Annotated §36-4-121(b)(2) specifically lists personal property as:

  • All real or personal property owned by a party prior to marriage
  • Property acquired in exchange for other property prior to marriage
  • Property acquired by a spouse at any time via gift, bequest, or devise
  • Proceeds as the result of legal settlements

In many cases, one party may attempt to blur the line between marital property and separate property. For example, if a spouse alleges that they substantially contributed to a mortgage payment on a house that a party owned prior to marriage, the court may consider this real estate to be marital property. A Chattanooga property division lawyer could provide more information about marital and personal property.

How is Debt Divided After a Divorce in Chattanooga?

Debt and financial liabilities could be handled in various different ways. Oftentimes, debt is split between the parties, but if one party is continuing to receive the benefit of that debt after the marriage is over, the court may order that person to pay.

In the case of student debt, typically the person that received the education would be responsible for that debt. Another example may be a car loan where one party is keeping a shared car, and they will have to pay the debt moving forward. However, every situation is a little bit different and it is best to consult an attorney about the best ways to handle the debt in each particular divorce.

Are Mortgages Handled Differently Than Other Debts After a Marriage Ends?

Oftentimes, the person who continues to reside in the home is the person who must pay the mortgage. In many cases, it makes more sense for the parties to sell the house and split the equity that has come from that sale to eliminate the mortgage.

If it is a situation where one party pays alimony to the other party, part of their alimony payment may very well be the mortgage. Like any other examples of debt during marriage dissolution, there are a number of ways to handle it depending on the nature of the separation.

Let a Chattanooga Property Division Attorney Fight for the Right to Property

A divorce or legal separation is always a seismic event that affects every part of your present and future. In fact, courts have broad powers to place both parties on fair and equitable financial footing moving forward.

Defining marital property is essential to an effective distribution of property. In short, this is all assets and debts that a couple acquires while together. However, many people may be able to argue that items are personal property and not subject to this distribution. As a result, cases concerning property division involve the dual phases of defining marital property and arguing for rights over that property.

A Chattanooga property division attorney may be able to help you to convince a court of your right to retain property. Attorneys could also work to engage in negotiations with the other party to settle the claim or to introduce any marital agreements that may control these claims. Contact a Chattanooga property division attorney today to see how they could help you.

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