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What Factors Are Considered in a High Asset Divorce?

When a billionaire couple recently divorced and could not reach an agreement, the court ordered their art collection sold. A bidding war over their art resulted in an auction that brought in over 600 million dollars.

Although your divorce might not be on the same scale, if you and your spouse are considering a divorce and have acquired substantial assets during your marriage, you may be concerned about the impact of a divorce and what methods the courts use to divide your assets. The divorce statutes of Tennessee require that the court divide your assets equitably if you cannot reach an agreement outside of court through mediation or negotiation. These statutes list the factors that the court must consider in order to equitably divide marital assets and debts.

T.C.A. 36-4-121 (c) provides that the following factors shall be considered:

(1) The duration of the marriage;

(2) The age, physical and mental health, vocational skills, employability, earning capacity, estate, financial liabilities and financial needs of each of the parties;

(3) The tangible or intangible contribution by one (1) party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party;

(4) The relative ability of each party for future acquisitions of capital assets and income;

(5) The contribution of each party to the acquisition, preservation, appreciation, depreciation or dissipation of the marital or separate property, including the contribution of a party to the marriage as homemaker, wage earner or parent, with the contribution of a party as homemaker or wage earner to be given the same weight if each party has fulfilled its role;

(6) The value of the separate property of each party;

(7) The estate of each party at the time of the marriage;

(8) The economic circumstances of each party at the time the division of property is to become effective;

(9) The tax consequences to each party, costs associated with the reasonably foreseeable sale of the asset, and other reasonably foreseeable expenses associated with the asset;

(10) The amount of social security benefits available to each spouse; and

(11) Such other factors as are necessary to consider the equities between the parties.

In a high asset divorce, it important to acquire accurate values of the assets. If you and your spouse do not agree on the value, it may be necessary to get an appraisal or evaluation. This becomes extremely important if either party owns a business. Another factor that has to be considered is the tax impact of division if you are considering the distribution of pre-tax assets versus post-tax assets. Depending on the length of your marriage, you may also need an analysis on whether any portion of an asset is separate property.

There are different options you can consider in order to reach an agreement on the division of your assets. Mediation is one option and collaborative law is another option.

If you are not able to reach an agreement, then you must present your case to the Court in the form of evidence at trial. Having an experienced litigator navigate obtaining the best evidence and persuasively arguing your case will be crucial to achieving your goals.

At Held Law Firm, we will work with you to gain an accurate depiction of your marital estate and formulate a plan to achieve your goals. Please give us a call at if you would like to set up a consultation to discuss your divorce.

This article was written and produced by Melanie Hogg.