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I want to keep the marital home. Can I do that in divorce?

In most divorce cases, it's not difficult to see why property division is so contentious. Partners who have been married for many years may have accumulated considerable assets, many times including a valuable marital home. Most people are not inclined to simply walk away from their fair share of these assets. This raises a number of questions about dividing and keeping marital property.

One question commonly asked during Tennessee divorce is: Can I keep the marital home? To answer this question, we first need to look at how Tennessee law deals with property division.

Dividing property equitably

As we have explained before on our blog, property is divided according to equitable distribution rules. After considering a variety of factors, which can include everything from the length of marriage to the tax consequences a divorce settlement could have on each spouse, a judge determines the fair division of marital property. As you may have guessed, this includes the marital home.

But how do you split a house?

Naturally, a judge is not physically splitting the home but rather is splitting the value of the home. After the home has been properly valued, the judge considers the current market value of the home and the accumulated equity in the home to properly divide this asset in a divorce settlement.

So is it possible for one spouse to keep the marital home?

While some see the marital home as a receptacle for bad memories - which is reason enough to sell the home - custodial parents often see it as a form of stability for their children, giving them reason to want to keep it.

Whatever the reason, spouses do have the option of "buying out" their spouse's interest either using separate property or a share of their own marital property that is equal in value to basically buy the mortgage from their spouse.

Is it necessary to involve a lawyer?

Negotiating a house buyout during a divorce might sound simple, but it can actually be a rather difficult process. Having an attorney to guide you through the process is never a bad idea, especially because they can protect your best interests and make sure you're agreeing to a fair deal in the end.

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