Tennessee Divorce Law Concerning Inheritance

By Heather Frances J.D.

Tennessee law requires an equitable division of property between two parties in a divorce. However, Tennessee law does not consider all property to be divisible in divorce, including an inheritance, depending on how it was used during the marriage.

Separate Property

Tennessee law does not allow separate property to be divided in a divorce. Separate property includes any property you acquired by inheritance, regardless of whether you receive that inheritance before or during your marriage. Other types of property Tennessee considers to be separate are property acquired by gift, property owned prior to marriage and certain legal settlements.

Marital Property

In contrast to separate property, marital property is divisible in a Tennessee divorce. Martial property includes all property -- except for separate property -- that either spouse acquires during the marriage. Even property you or your spouse obtain during the divorce process is considered marital property. While Tennessee requires your marital property be divided equitably, this does not necessarily mean each of you will receive an equal share. To make a determination as to what is considered equitable, the court must consider the entire situation, including the length of the marriage, ages of the spouses, contributions of each spouse to the marriage, and tax consequences of the division; however, the court is not allowed to consider whether either party is at fault in the divorce. The value of marital property is determined as of the date of divorce not the date when the property was purchased.

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Income from Separate Property

Even if your inheritance started out as your separate property, income from your inheritance may be considered marital property if you and your spouse both contributed to it. For example, if you used marital assets to improve or maintain a house that you inherited during your marriage, the court would likely consider the increased value of that house as marital property even while it considers the house itself to be your separate property.

Commingling

If you mix — or commingle — your inheritance with your marital property so much so that the court has difficulty tracing the inheritance, the court may determine that it has lost its special status as separate property and has become marital property. For example, if you received money as an inheritance then deposited it in your family checking account and used it to pay marital expenses, the court may determine your inheritance is marital property subject to division in your divorce. Conversely, if you received a monetary inheritance that you kept in a separate bank account or invested separately from your marital assets, the court would be able to trace it and likely consider it to be separate property.

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Interest Income From Inheritance During Divorce in Arizona
 

References

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Financial Gifts in a Divorce

In many cases, if you personally receive money as a gift, it will not be affected by a divorce. Generally, gifts made to one spouse are considered "separate property," meaning it belongs solely to the spouse who received it, even if received during the marriage. However, courts may consider the financial resources of each spouse, including separate property, when determining the terms of the divorce. While divorce laws and property division vary by state, courts may have discretion to divide separate property in a divorce depending on the circumstances.

How Does Property Get Split Up in a Montana Divorce?

The sharing of property and money is one of the many benefits of marriage. However, if couples decide to get divorced, determining who should take ownership of the marital assets can get confusing. In Montana, the law requires a court to look at several factors and what is fair between the parties when distributing property as part of your divorce.

Divorce and Property Rights in Michigan

Understanding the rules for property division in a divorce in Michigan may help you to know what to expect before going to court and provide you with tools to negotiate your own property settlement to avoid trial. All marital property may be divided between the spouses, and Michigan courts strive to divide the property equitably. Fault does not come up when determining the grounds for divorce, but the court may consider fault when figuring out how to fairly divide the marital property.

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