How to Divest Property Interest in a Divorce Decree in Tennessee

By Jennifer Williams

Tennessee courts are authorized by statute to take a property you own and transfer it to your spouse as part of the divorce property settlement process. When the court takes property, it "divests" the owner-spouse of his ownership interest, or right to own and control the property. It then gives, or invests, that right to own and control the property to the gaining spouse. The law allows you to ask the court to order the divestment or the court can order it on its own.

Step 1

Negotiate a marital dissolution agreement with your spouse, which includes your agreed-upon property division. State in the agreement that you want the court to take your ownership interest in specific property and transfer it to your spouse. Identify the property you want to be divested and its fair market value. If it is real estate, identify it by address and legal description as it appears on the property deed. If it is other property, such as an art collection or a designer shoe collection, name the property and state how many pieces the collection or set contains, along with its fair market value. If the divorce is contested, simply ask the court to divest you of the property interest in your individual proposal for property division. Tennessee law allows the court to make its own decision about whether to order the divestment, even if your spouse is not in total agreement.

Step 2

Identify the terms of the agreement by which you want to be divested of the property. For example, if the property is mortgaged, require your spouse to qualify for refinancing the property by a specific deadline after the divorce is final, upon which date you will execute a quit claim deed giving your property interest to her. If your spouse cannot obtain financing by the deadline, require the property be sold.

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Step 3

File the marital dissolution agreement in your divorce case. Observe the Tennessee waiting period. In uncontested cases, when both spouses agree to all divorce terms, the judge cannot sign the final decree, which makes the divorce final, until 60 days after you filed the original petition for divorce, if there are no minor children. Uncontested divorces with minor children cannot be granted until 90 days after filing.

Step 4

Obtain a quit claim deed form specific to Tennessee from your court clerk's office. Alternatively, you can download forms from various online legal document providers. After the divorce is final and any agreed-upon conditions are met, such as refinancing, fill out the deed. Sign it before a notary and have it officially notarized.

Step 5

File both the final divorce decree incorporating your marital dissolution agreement and the quit claim deed with your county registrar's office where property deeds are filed and made public record. Filing these documents puts all creditors on notice that the divestiture is valid and final, and prevents them from filing liens against the property as a guarantee for your debts.

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