Who Gets the House in a Tennessee Divorce?

There is no doubt that going through a divorce is an emotional process. At the same time, there are numerous legal and practical issues that must be dealt with when a married couple decides to end their marriage. The division of marital assets and debts, for example, is an important part of the legal process that dissolves a marriage. If you are thinking about divorce, one of your primary concerns may be possession of the marital residence post-divorce. With that in mind, a Murfreesboro divorce lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby helps you understand the factors that will help determine who gets the house in a Tennessee divorce.

The Division of Marital Property in a Tennessee Divorce

The legal process of divorce dissolves the marital bond between the spouses. As part of that process, all marital debts and assets must be divided. It is important to remember that only marital assets are subject to division in a Tennessee divorce. Separate property remains with the owner and may include assets owned prior to the marriage, assets inherited during the marriage, and/or assets designated as separate property in a prenuptial agreement. If the marital residence is included in marital property (which is usually the case), then it is subject to division of assets in the divorce.

Tennessee is an “equitable distribution” state in terms of the division of property in a divorce. This does not mean that assets will necessarily be divided equally between the parties. Instead, it means that the court will order a just distribution of assets.

What Factors Are Considered When Deciding Who Gets the House?

Ideally, the parties to a divorce are able to reach an out of court settlement that covers the division of all marital assets and debts without the need for the court to intervene. When that is not possible, however, a judge will have to decide how marital assets are divided in a divorce. Tennessee law provides several factors that a judge may consider when deciding how to divide marital assets in a divorce, including, but not limited to:

  • The length of the marriage.
  • The age, physical and mental health, vocational skills, employability, earning capacity, estate, financial liabilities, and financial needs of each of the parties.
  • The contribution of one party to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other party.
  • The contribution of each party to the acquisition, preservation, appreciation, depreciation, or dissipation of marital property. This includes contributions as a homemaker.
  • The economic circumstances of each party.

Tennessee Code § 36-4-121(d) specifically addresses the issue of possession of the martial residence in a divorce, stating as follows:

“The court may award the family home and household effects, or the right to live therein and use the household effects for a reasonable period, to either party, but shall give special consideration to a spouse having physical custody of a child or children of the marriage.”

That section makes it clear that the parent who will be the Primary Residential Parent (PRP) will be likely to get possession of the marital residence in a divorce; however, it does not guarantee such an outcome. Along with the factors mentioned above, the court may also consider practical issues such as which party is able to financially maintain the home and what other assets are available to offset awarding the home to one party to ensure an equitable distribution. The best way to get a better idea of what will happen to the house in your Tennessee divorce is to consult with an experienced Tennessee divorce attorney to discuss your legal options.

Contact a Murfreesboro Divorce Lawyer 

If you have additional questions about who gets the house in a Tennessee divorce, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro divorce lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the team at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.

Dinah Michael