Tennessee law calls for marital estates to be divided “equitably,” which means fairly, not equally. There is no formula for fairness. The longer a couple is married, and the more they have, either in assets or debts, or both, the more complicated and intertwined their marital estate is and the more difficult it will be figuring out the division.
A couple can do this themselves, or with the help of their attorneys. In some cases, a third-party neutral (see Collaborative Divorce) is brought in. If the parties can’t decide how to divide property, then a judge will do it based on the testimony from both parties.
Sometimes this is necessary, but, fortunately, this is infrequent. It’s always best for the parties to do this themselves. If the courts are involved, then there is additional time and money, as well as stress.
One of the most important pieces of advice that we can give early in a divorce is to take stock of your joint property—especially bank accounts—to eliminate questions later. Sometimes in the course of a divorce, funds get moved or manipulated which leads to questions, then arguments and having to bring in a judge to solve issues.
At Ken Phillips Family Law, we are experts at working with our clients in extracting data that tell the most complete property story for our clients. We negotiate hard for you. And we’ve always found that it’s best to settle this issue without a judge.