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Home Marital Property Regardless of Being Purchased Earlier than Marriage


Tennessee case abstract on classification in divorce.

Vernell Lynn Carptenter Lewis v. William Billy Lewis

The husband and spouse on this Shelby County, Tennessee, case started courting in 1995.  They each had youngsters from earlier marriages.  Whereas they have been nonetheless courting, the spouse bought a four-acre property that included a residence.  A couple of yr later, the husband moved in, and varied enhancements have been made.  At one level, the events signed an settlement agreeing to pay half the mortgage, utilities, and maintenance.  Eight months later, they have been married.  Shortly thereafter, the husband fairly his job, and the spouse paid the mortgage together with her earnings.  After ten years of marriage, each events filed for divorce.  The trial court docket,

Decide Valerie L Smith, made varied rulings, together with ruling that the home was the spouse’s separate property.  The husband appealed that subject to the Tennessee Supreme Courtroom.  The appeals court docket first famous that the difficulty was a truth query which might be reviewed de novo, with no presumption of correctness.

The decrease court docket had based mostly its determination upon the truth that the spouse owned the property throughout the marriage, had it in her identify alone, and paid the mortgage and bills throughout the marriage together with her earnings.  However the appeals court docket identified that different elements ought to have been thought-about.

For instance, the appeals court docket identified that the husband had carried out a number of upkeep duties.

Significantly necessary was the truth that the events had used the property as their marital residence.  Additionally, though the spouse used her earnings to pay the mortgage, these have been marital earnings.  Presently, the husband was making an attempt to begin a enterprise.  The truth that he was in the end unsuccessful didn’t imply that her earnings weren’t a part of the marital belongings.

For the reason that property was a marital asset, the Courtroom of Appeals held that the decrease court docket would want to resolve its disposition.  For that motive, it remanded the case to the decrease court docket to equitably divide all the property.

The appeals court docket additionally reviewed a decrease court docket order during which the husband had been granted sanctions in opposition to the spouse’s lawyer.  It affirmed that order.

For these causes, the Courtroom of Appeals affirmed partially, reversed partially, and remanded the case.  The appellate court docket’s determination was penned by Decide Frank G. Clement, Jr.

No. W2019-00542-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Aug. 11,  2020).

See authentic opinion for precise language.  Authorized citations omitted.

To study extra, see Property Division in Tennessee Divorce.


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