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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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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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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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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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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Civil Contempt Reversed in Williamson Co., TN Divorce: Duke v. Duke

Facts: The parents of three children were divorced. Much post-divorce litigation ensued culminating in this 54 page (!!!) opinion. While the opinion delves into numerous issues and disputes, the only one I am going to address on this blog concerns civil contempt. At the time of divorce, the trial court ordered: [Father] shall continue to […]

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Maximum Sentence for Criminal Contempt Vacated in Franklin: In re Anna L. J.

Facts: Husband and Wife filed an action against Parents alleging their child was dependent and neglected. As part of an agreed resolution to that matter, the parties entered an agreed reciprocal restraining order prohibiting them from having any contact with each other. Six months later, Parents petitioned to hold Husband in criminal contempt of court […]

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Subject Matter Jurisdiction Challenged in Memphis Post-Divorce Contempt Action: Heilig v. Heilig

Facts: Mother and Father were divorced in Memphis in 2008. While the parties had previously resided in Arlington, by the time of the divorce Mother and the children had moved to Illinois. In late 2010, Father moved from Tennessee to Pennsylvania. Several post-divorce disputes arose concerning the parenting plan, all of which the parties elected to litigate […]

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