Call us today: (615) 848-1221



Posted by Heather Knott | Feb 15, 2018 | 0 Comments

It is important to know the difference between what the Tennessee courts classify as marital property and separate property.  I find that a lot of couples believe that if they maintain separate accounts, title  property in their individual names, or keep their spouses names from being associated with assets they purchase or obtain during the marriage, that they are somehow protecting its separate identity.  This is not true and not consistent with the way the court may define separate and marital property.
In fact, marital property can be defined as broadly as any items acquired during the marriage.  It can include income from, and any increase in the value during the marriage of, property determined to be separate property if each party substantially contributed to its preservation and appreciation.  Substantial contribution may include  the direct or indirect contribution of a spouse as homemaker, wage earner, parent or family financial manager. 
So, it is important to understand that any items that were owned prior to the marriage or received during the marriage, such as inheritance, which would normally be deemed separate property, can change or “transmute” to marital property in certain situations.  For example, if wife receives an inheritance and places the funds from the inheritance into a separate account in her individual name, said funds would remain the separate funds of wife and not divisible upon a divorce.  However, if wife places husband's name on the account where the inherited funds are deposited or uses said funds toward a marital asset (like pay off a mortgage on real property deeded to the parties jointly), then wife may transmute said funds and create a marital interest for husband in the inheritance.  Another example would be if the funds were used to purchase real property that is jointly titled, this creates a marital interest.  The courts have even upheld that using your spouses credit and obtaining a mortgage on real property owed by one party prior to the marriage, can create a marital interest, even where the deed has not been changed to include the spouse's name.
In order to completely protect yourself from having separate assets become marital assets in a divorce, contact my office and discuss the possible tools and obtain advise as to how to avoid a transfer of separate assets to marital assets.

About the Author

Heather Knott

Ms. Knott is the managing partner of Pate and Knott, Attorneys at Law, and has been engaged in the practice of law since 2003. Her experience in the legal field extends beyond her years of practice, with Ms. Knott working in the legal profession since 1995. Her practice is focused in domestic lit...


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Free Consultation

The Firm of Pate and Knott charges no fee for the initial consultation regarding personal injury cases, including automobile/truck/motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents or any other type of accident caused by a third party. Call us at (615) 848-1221 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our Murfreesboro office. Evening and Saturday appointments available.

Free Case Evaluation