Short-Term Alimony Converted to Permanent Alimony in Chattanooga Divorce: Ruiz v. Ruiz

Facts: In this marriage of approximately 30 years, Wife, 49, had been a homemaker and stay-at-home parent to the parties’ three sons. Husband, 54, was employed working on boilers throughout the marriage. Both are high school graduates. Husband earned approximately $130,000 per year. Wife had no earnings history but was found capable of earning minimum wage.. […]

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Sanctions for Discovery Abuse Affirmed in Williamson County Divorce: Berg v. Berg

Facts: The parties divorced after 32 years of marriage. They survived mostly on substantial passive income from minority interests in several family businesses Husband inherited. Wife argued these entities, inherited from Husband’s parents, were marital property rather than Husband’s separate property. In pursuit of this theory, Wife engaged multiple consulting expert witnesses. By the time the […]

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Statute for Attorney’s Fees in Child Custody Disputes Inapplicable to Termination of Parental Rights Cases: In re Nathaniel C.T.

Facts: In June 2008, the Children entered into the temporary custody of their aunt by agreed order. In December 2008, Petitioners filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of Parents to the Children. Ultimately, the parties entered mediation and reached an agreement in 2011. In the end, the Children remained with Parents. Relying on Tennessee Code […]

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Award of Attorney’s Fees Reversed in Trenton Post-Divorce Child Support Dispute: Powers v. Powers

Facts: The parties divorced after nine years of marriage. They have one child. When they divorced, they entered into a marital dissolution agreement in which Father agreed to pay one-half of Child’s college expenses, including “tuition, books, living expenses, etc.” The marital dissolution agreement did not contain an express provision related to attorney’s fees. Years later, […]

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Attorney’s Fees Awarded as Alimony in Tennessee Divorce: Pettigrew v. Pettigrew:

Facts: After 31 years of marriage, Wife, 54, and Husband, 64, were divorced. Wife, a homemaker, was the economically disadvantaged spouse. Wife was awarded $500,000 in liquid assets from the equitable division of the marital estate. Wife was also awarded seven years of transitional alimony, with payments of $4,500 per month in year one, and then […]

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Legal Separation Precludes Final Award of Alimony: Hooberry v. Hooberry

Facts: After an 8-1/2 year marriage, Husband and Wife sought a legal separation. The parties sought a legal separation for two years so Wife could remain on Husband’s health insurance. Husband was 48 years old and Wife was 52 years old. Wife, who suffered from multiple sclerosis and epilepsy and was unable to work or obtain […]

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Transitional Alimony Affirmed in Short Marriage: Tippens-Florea v. Florea

Facts: The parties married when Wife was 22 and Husband was 27. Almost immediately after getting married, the parties began fighting over finances. Wife attended law school at night and worked as an administrative assistant in a law firm during the day. Husband worked as an engineer. After two years of marriage, the relationship had […]

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Paramour Clause and Change of Child Custody After Tennessee Divorce: Reed v. Reed

Facts: Mother and Father were divorced in March, 2010. Mother was designated as the primary residential parent for their two children. The trial court prohibited Mother from allowing her paramour to be around the children pending further order of the court. Both parents were prohibited from having overnight guests of the opposite sex while the […]

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Property Valuation and Professional Goodwill in Tennessee Divorce: Eberting v. Eberting

Facts: The parties were divorced after a 14-year marriage. After a trial, the trial court awarded Wife a divorce, distributed the marital property, entered a Permanent Parenting Plan, awarded Wife transitional alimony, and awarded Wife attorney’s fees as alimony in solido. Husband appealed the trial court’s valuation of Husband’s orthodontic practice, its failure to adopt a […]

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Property Classification, Transitional Alimony, and Attorney’s Fees: May v. May

Facts: Husband and Wife divorced after a 25-year marriage. At the time of divorce, Husband was 75 years old and “semi-retired,” earning $1,250 per month as a consultant. Wife was 59 years old, had a GED, and earned $260 per month cleaning houses. She also had cancer and a painful nerve condition in her hip. […]

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Frivolous Post-Divorce Petitions Leads to Change of Custody and Attorney’s Fees: Payne v. Payne

Facts: Father was named the primary residential parent when the parties were divorced, and Mother was granted liberal parenting time with Child. Father filed three separate petitions during the following three years seeking to modify and limit Mother’s time with Child. Each time, the trial court entered a temporary ex parte restraining order prohibiting Mother from […]

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A Primer on Contempt in Tennessee

Contempt is the willful failure to obey a court order when one has the ability to do so.  There are two types of contempt that can occur in any case: civil contempt and criminal contempt.  Many attorneys (and some judges) fail to differentiate between the two, which can lead to problems.  This is exactly what […]

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