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The need for a big-picture approach when dividing marital assets

On Behalf of | Jul 29, 2020 | Family Law

For some couples going through a divorce, the inclination is to fight intensely over every individual asset or possession, particularly those that carry substantial financial value or represent memories for the family. Couples often fail to consider the long-term repercussions of fighting over individual assets and can make their divorce more difficult and expensive by doing so.

Although it may gall you to think of your ex being the one to retain a fine art painting that both of you treasured during your marriage, you will have to accept the fact that you and your spouse will receive marital assets with significant financial or emotional value as part of the property division process in your Tennessee divorce.

Staying focused on the big picture, which means prioritizing a fair outcome rather than the retention of as many assets as possible, can help you make better decisions about how you handle your divorce. This will lead to a faster and more cost-effective dissolution of your marriage.

No matter how much you fight, the courts will aim for fairness

You can’t simply make a claim to every piece of property that you want to retain and expect the courts to side with you. The primary goal during property division is an equitable or fair outcome.

Equitable does not mean equal. It means that each spouse receives a fair and reasonable portion of the marital estate based on their current circumstances, standard of living and contributions to the marriage. Although it is certainly possible to ask courts to allocate specific assets to you, they will not create terms that benefit one spouse heavily over the other. You need to prioritize the outcome you want and determine which assets mean the most to you before you ever reach court.

Look for ways to set yourself up for success, not to punish your ex

Beyond fighting for an outcome that is unlikely, like an uneven split of marital assets, one of the more common, emotional mistakes people make involves asking for assets as a way to hurt the other spouse rather than protect their own wishes and interests.

An example would be requesting an asset that has significant emotional value for your spouse but very little use or value for you. It is usually a better approach to focus on the assets that matter to you and that will help you establish a firm foundation for a better future after your divorce.

Working with an attorney can help you set aside some of the emotional intensity so common in divorce and focus more on your future rather than the end of your marriage.