Divorce and the Family Home

Family Law Attorneys Assisting Nashville Residents

Going through a divorce can be emotional and difficult. During the process of protecting your financial future and your rights to your children, you may be concerned about what happens to your family home. A couple’s house is often the most valuable asset in a divorce and also the property with the most emotional attachment. Determining who gets to stay, or if it needs to be sold, can depend on many different factors. The Nashville divorce lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC can help people going through a divorce determine what is best for their family in terms of asset division, including what happens to their home. We work tirelessly in trying to ensure that our clients may move on confidently following the conclusion of their marriage. Consult our family law attorneys for assistance with divorce negotiations or proceedings.

Determining the Future of the Family Home

When determining how to divide assets in a divorce, a court may look at a variety of factors to make sure property is distributed fairly. Property that is acquired during the course of a marriage is considered “marital property” in Tennessee, and therefore it is subject to equitable distribution. By contrast, property obtained before a couple married is considered that spouse’s separate property, as are certain gifts and inheritances. However, if both spouses substantially contribute to separate property during the marriage, resulting in an appreciation of its value, that property may then be considered part of the marital assets.

With regard to a home where the family resides, regardless of whether or not both spouses’ names are on the deed, if the property was purchased during the marriage, it would be considered marital property under Tennessee law. If both parties can reach an agreement regarding who will continue to reside in the house following a divorce, a court may divide up the remaining assets to account for the property’s worth. However, if there is no prior agreement, a court may consider a multitude of factors in determining who gets the house, including:

  • Whether or not there are children and the terms of any custody arrangements. For instance, a parent with primary physical custody may retain the residence in order to avoid disturbing a child’s schooling.
  • The ability of one spouse to afford property taxes, mortgages, or maintenance costs associated with the home.
  • In the context of late-life divorces, each spouse’s eligibility requirements regarding real estate property tax exemptions, reverse mortgage considerations, public benefits, and any rental income.

In some instances, a court may order the parties to sell the home, if the property places too heavy a financial burden on either party.

In Tennessee, once a divorce complaint is filed in court, an automatic injunction is put in place prohibiting either party from transferring, or selling, any marital property, which includes the family home. If this injunction is violated, the offending spouse may incur monetary fines or other penalties imposed by the court. Because of the delicate nature involved in some divorces, it is important to consult a knowledgeable attorney who can advocate on your behalf when it comes to dividing property.

Contact a Divorce Attorney in Nashville

In trying to settle emotional matters such as who will remain in a family home after a divorce, it is helpful to have a third-party advocate to assist you in negotiations, or legal proceedings if necessary. The Nashville divorce lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC offer compassionate and experienced legal representation for people going through this process. Our firm also represents people in Franklin, Cool Springs, Bellevue, East Nashville, and other communities throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties in all types of family law proceedings. Contact us online or call us at 615-800-7096 to schedule a free consultation.