You may be ready to end your marriage, but that does not mean that you necessarily want your entire life to change. In addition to worrying about child custody, child support and spousal support decisions, many Tennessee families also worry about who will get to keep the family home.
With many aspects of your life in flux, the thought of losing your home on top of everything else can be overwhelming. While there is no definitive answer whether you can keep your home, you should at least understand how property division is resolved in Tennessee.
Tennessee is an “equitable distribution” state
As an equitable distribution state, Tennessee aims to fairly divide marital property between spouses. It is important to note that “equitably” does not necessarily mean “equally.” If you and your spouse cannot agree on a plan to divide your property on your own, a judge will determine what he or she deems a fair split.
Many factors influence which spouse can keep the home
Each family’s circumstances are unique, and your specific situation will influence whether you can keep your home. Whether you have children, your income and other marital assets will all factor into the final decision. Some questions to consider include:
- Will your children spend the majority of their time living with you?
- Can you afford the mortgage on your own?
- Did your spouse own the house prior to your marriage?
- Are you willing to surrender other substantial marital assets to keep your home?
- Would you be willing to buy out your spouse’s interest in the house?
Negotiating a settlement with your spouse
If you are determined to keep your home, consider working with your attorney to negotiate a property division settlement with your spouse that you can both be happy with. You can offer your spouse other valuable assets in exchange for the home to even out your relative share of the total marital property.
If you cannot reach an agreement, you may have to rely on the Tennessee courts to determine whether one of you will keep the home, or whether it will be sold and the profits split. An experienced family law attorney can thoroughly explain all your options, and help you pursue the most favorable property division settlement possible.