Facts: The parties were married 21 years. Wife was granted a divorce on grounds of Husband’s inappropriate marital conduct. Wife was a college graduate, worked for the State for 16 years, and earned an annual income of $72,000. Husband’s income was $138,000, comprised of a $100,000 salary and a $38,000 bonus. It was not certain whether Husband would receive future bonuses or what they might be. The trial court found Wife was not entitled to alimony.
The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and found that Wife was the economically disadvantaged spouse because her earning capacity would not permit her to maintain a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage or to the post-divorce standard of living expected to be available to Husband. The Court found Wife was in need and Husband had the ability to pay alimony in futuro of $1,250 per month until the death of Husband or the remarriage of Wife.
The Court of Appeals also reversed the trial court’s denial of Wife’s request for attorney’s fees, finding that she was entitled to recover her attorney’s fees from Husband for both the trial court proceedings and the appeal. The matter was sent back to the trial court to determine the amount of attorney’s fees Husband is to pay Wife.
UPDATE: The Tennessee Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals. Click here for my blog post on the Tennessee Supreme Court opinion.
Information provided by K.O. Herston, Tennessee Divorce Lawyer.