TN Law States You Split the Assetts 50-50 - But She Gets it ALL

One of the greatest misconceptions concerning divorce in Tennessee is the erroneous belief that when a couple gets a divorce the assets will be divided equally between the spouses. No, the law states the judge gets to decide what he thinks is "just."

a)  (1)  In all actions for divorce or legal separation, the court having jurisdiction thereof may, upon request of either party, and prior to any determination as to whether it is appropriate to order the support and maintenance of one (1) party by the other, equitably divide, distribute or assign the marital property between the parties without regard to marital fault in proportions as the court deems just.
TN  Annotaded 36-4-121. Distribution of marital property.

"The trial courtís goal in every divorce case is to divide the partiesí marital estate in a just and equitable manner. The division of the estate is not rendered inequitable simply because it is not mathematically equal, Cohen v. Cohen, 937 S.W.2d 823, 832 (Tenn. 1996); Ellis v. Ellis, 748 S.W.2d 424, 427 (Tenn. 1988), or because each party did not receive a share of every item of marital property. Brown v. Brown, 913 S.W.2d at 168."
Source: IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF TENNESSEE AT KNOXVILLE January 31, 2011 Session CAROL DENICE PETTIJOHN v. PATRICK CARL PETTIJOHN  Appeal from the Circuit Court for Polk County No. CV-09-088 Lawrence H. Puckett, Judge


She may actually get more than all of the assets.  For example, let's take a man whose marital estate was valued at $250,000.  The judge decides equitable was a 60/40 split - she gets $150,000, leaving him $100,000 and lifetime alimony of $1,500.  After 15 years of lifetime alimony he has paid her $270,000, meaning she actually received 168% ($420,000) of the original $250,000 value of the marital estate.  And she will get even more in the years ahead.    Remember, if he has a pension she is very likely gettting half of it also.

So, the rumor is you'll get to keep half of what you worked so hard for while your spouse may have either contributed towards it or might have just sat on the couch eating bon-bons. Don't count on getting half; it's not the law and it's not fair.