Keyt v. Keyt (Again)

This is the case that will not die.  It went from the trial court up to the Court of Appeals then up to the Supreme Court then back down to the trial court and now back up to the Court of Appeals.  Just typing that makes me exhausted.

Facts: I cannot summarize the procedural history any better than the Court of Appeals did below.

In the 2005 Final Decree of Divorce, the trial court determined that the husband’s shares of stock in the family business, which his parents gifted to him, were his separate property; however, the appreciation of that stock during the marriage, $1.7 million, was held to be marital property. The court awarded the wife 37.5 percent of the marital estate and alimony in futuro of $1,500 per month for the first year and $2,500 per month thereafter. This court affirmed the division of marital property but modified the award of alimony, holding that she was entitled to eight years of rehabilitative alimony but not alimony in futuro. The Supreme Court held that the appreciation of the husband’s stock was his separate property, not marital property, and remanded the case to the trial court to reconsider the division of the marital estate and to reconsider the award of alimony due to the substantial reduction of the marital estate. On remand, the trial court awarded the wife 64 percent of the substantially reduced marital estate and granted her alimony in solido in the amount of $478,000. In this second appeal by the husband, we affirm the division of marital property, finding it is not inequitable under the circumstances, and we affirm the award of alimony in solido to Wife.

Interestingly, prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling, Husband paid Wife $478,000 as the balance of her share of the marital estate. Following the release of the Supreme Court’s decision (which saved Husband half a million dollars), Husband sought and obtained an injunction to preserve the money Husband had previously paid to Wife as part of the previous division of marital property.

On remand, the trial court awarded Wife $478,000 as alimony in solido.  Hmmm, I wonder where the trial court got that figure?

Husband appealed, noting the trial court had simply changed its award of $478,000 from property division to alimony in solidoThe Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court, stating:

As Husband correctly notes, the amount of alimony in solido awarded to Wife is the same amount as the cash payment made by Husband after the stay was lifted in 2007. We recognize this is more than a coincidence; however, that fact standing alone is not sufficient for us to conclude that an award of $478,000 of alimony in solido is clearly unreasonable in light of the fact Husband has separate assets of approximately $2 million and an earning capacity that greatly exceeds that of Wife. As we noted earlier, the trial court has broad discretion to determine the nature and amount of alimony and we will not reverse or modify the court’s decision regarding spousal support unless it is not supported by the evidence or is contrary to the public policies reflected in the applicable statutes. We have determined the trial court’s decision to award Wife alimony in solido of $478,000 is not contrary to public policy and it is supported by the evidence. Accordingly, the award of $478,000 to Wife as alimony in solido is affirmed.

Keyt v. Keyt (Tenn. Ct. App. May 14, 2010).

Information provided by K.O. Herston, Tennessee Divorce Lawyer.

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K.O. Herston is a family-law attorney in Knoxville, Tennessee whose practice is devoted exclusively to family law, including divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, prenuptial agreements, and other aspects of family law.

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