Ambiguous Marital Dissolution Agreement Won’t Support Civil Contempt in Williamson County, Tennessee: Scobey v. Scobey

Facts: Husband and Wife settled their divorce after 20 years of marriage. Their marital dissolution agreement contained this paragraph 13: 13. Retirement/pension plans: Upon entry of Final Decree of Divorce, one half of the funds and assets in the T. Rowe Price Roth IRA account ending in #5830, styled in the name of Husband, shall be, […]

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Tennessee Family Law Legislative Update 2017

Hello, friends! It’s that time of year again—time to review how our legislators made Tennessee family law worse than it was this time last year. First, let’s all take a minute to chug a jar of East Tennessee moonshine to prepare ourselves for what’s to come. OK, now that we’re sufficiently numb, let’s get started. Hit us with your best shot, […]

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Civil Contempt Petition Revived Because of Multiple Errors in Memphis, TN: Parsons v. Parsons

Facts: Husband and Wife divorced in 2014. Nearly a year later, Wife petition for civil and criminal contempt. She alleged that Husband failed to pay the full amount of spousal support required by their marital dissolution agreement. After Wife’s counsel completed the direct examination of Wife, Husband’s counsel moved to dismiss on the grounds that […]

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Extraordinary Appeal Results in Reversal of Emergency Change in Custody in Roane County, TN Parenting Dispute: Milton v. Harness

Facts: Mother and Father never married. Child was born in 2010 in Arizona. Mother listed Father on Child’s birth certificate. Initially, Father lived in California while Mother and Child lived in Arizona. Mother granted Father informal visitation with Child on a regular basis. Father would travel to Arizona for this visitation. Later, Father moved to […]

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Postdivorce Abuse of Process Action Leads to Dismissal and Sanctions against Lawyer in Chattanooga, TN: Parvin v. Newman

Facts: During the pendency of Husband and Wife’s divorce proceedings, Wife filed a motion asking that Husband be held in civil contempt for failing to pay certain expenses and perform certain acts as he had been ordered. Husband and Wife eventually settled their divorce, and the trial court adopted their settlement agreement. That agreement provided that […]

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What Is the Remedy When a Party Violates the Automatic Injunction?: Coleman v. Olson Presents a Case of First Impression in Tennessee

Facts: Mother and Father married in 2007. Their child was born the following year. In the summer of 2012, they began having marital problems. This culminated in a physical altercation that resulted in Mother’s arrest. Upon her release from jail, Mother moved into the home of a friend. Mother filed a complaint for divorce on […]

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Consecutive Sentence Likely Excessive in Postdivorce Criminal Contempt Case in Murfreesboro, TN: Burris v. Burris

Facts: Father and Mother, the parents of three children, were divorced in 2008. Father was named the primary residential parent, and Mother was ordered to pay child support. Mother was also ordered to pay one-half of of the children’s uncovered medical expenses. Over the course of this postdivorce litigation, Father filed three petitions for criminal contempt […]

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Civil Contempt of Court Reversed in Nashville, TN: Aryan v. Aryan

Facts: Husband and Wife divorced in 2012. The trial court approved their marital dissolution agreement (“MDA”) in which Wife was awarded the former marital residence. Wife was ordered to pay the mortgage debt and hold Husband harmless from any debt associated with the property. Curiously, Wife was not required to refinance the debt solely in […]

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Contempt and Attorney’s Fees at Issue in Sparta, TN Post-Divorce Hearing: Cremeens v. Cremeens

Facts: In this post-divorce action, Father filed a petition to hold Mother in contempt for violating the parenting plan by making derogatory statements about him to their child. The trial court found Mother in civil contempt for making derogatory statements about Father to Child in violation of the parenting plan, and awarded Father attorney’s fees […]

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A Primer on Criminal Contempt in Tennessee

This recent article by Marlene Moses in the Tennessee Bar Journal may be of interest to readers of this blog. Can Criminal Contempt Create Compliance? How can a party or attorney in a family law case effectively use criminal contempt as a means of getting a positive result from the other party? When a person […]

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Court Divided On “Prevailing Party” in Nashville Divorce: Williams v. Williams

Facts: Husband and Wife executed a marital dissolution agreement (“MDA”) which was approved by the court and made part of their final divorce decree. The MDA awarded a piece of real property to Husband but required him to satisfy the mortgage debt within 90 days such that Wife would no longer be liable on the […]

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Criminal Contempt Reversed in Nashville Post-Divorce Litigation: Miller v. Miller

Facts: Mother and Father divorced and agreed to Mother being the primary residential parent with Father having 115 days of parenting time. After the divorce, Mother was allowed to relocate to Wisconsin. As a result of Mother’s relocation, a new parenting schedule was agreed to that, among other provisions, required Mother to transport the children […]

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