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What property is considered separate under Tennessee law?

The state of Tennessee recognizes equitable distribution when it comes to dividing property between soon-to-be ex-partners during a divorce. Equitable distribution relies on the premise of fairness in dividing real estate, personal property and intangible assets among divorcing parties.

However, only marital property or property owned by both spouses jointly is subject to division under equitable distribution. Separate property, or property owned by only one of the partners to a marriage, remains under the ownership of that one individual after divorce. This post will discuss some of the types of property that may be considered separate during a divorce but readers are asked to speak with their family law attorneys about their cases as this post should not be considered legal advice.

As one may expect any property that a person owns prior to marriage and that maintains its separate ownership during a marriage may be considered separate. Also, any gifts or inheritances that a person acquires individually during a marriage and which is not commingled with marital property may also stay the property of the sole owner.

Earnings on separate investments, such as capital gains, may stay the property of an individual owner during a marriage as long as the underlying investments are considered separate. Also, any awards of damages made individually to one partner to a marriage may remain that of the recipient as long as the proceeds of the awards were kept separate from the jointly held assets of the couple.

There are other types of property that individuals may hold separate and apart from their spouses that they may keep in the event of divorce. Therefore, readers with property division and equitable distribution questions are encouraged to consult with their divorce attorneys about how their property rights may be impacted as they proceed through their divorces.

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James H. Snyder Attorney at Law
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