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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 relationship in 1995.  They each had youngsters from earlier marriages.  Whereas they had been nonetheless relationship, the spouse bought a four-acre property that included a residence.  A couple of 12 months later, the husband moved in, and varied enhancements had been made.  At one level, the events signed an settlement agreeing to pay half the mortgage, utilities, and maintenance.  Eight months later, they had 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 courtroom,

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

The decrease courtroom had primarily based its determination upon the truth that the spouse owned the property in the course of the marriage, had it in her identify alone, and paid the mortgage and bills in the course of the marriage together with her earnings.  However the appeals courtroom identified that different elements ought to have been thought of.

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

Significantly essential was the truth that the events had used the property as their marital residence.  Additionally, despite the fact that the spouse used her earnings to pay the mortgage, these had been marital earnings.  Right now, the husband was making an attempt to begin a enterprise.  The truth that he was finally unsuccessful didn’t imply that her earnings weren’t a part of the marital property.

For the reason that property was a marital asset, the Court docket of Appeals held that the decrease courtroom would want to resolve its disposition.  For that purpose, it remanded the case to the decrease courtroom to equitably divide your complete property.

The appeals courtroom additionally reviewed a decrease courtroom order through which the husband had been granted sanctions towards the spouse’s lawyer.  It affirmed that order.

For these causes, the Court docket of Appeals affirmed partly, reversed partly, and remanded the case.  The appellate courtroom’s determination was penned by Choose Frank G. Clement, Jr.

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

See unique opinion for precise language.  Authorized citations omitted.

To study extra, see Property Division in Tennessee Divorce.

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