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 kids from earlier marriages.  Whereas they had been nonetheless relationship, the spouse bought a four-acre property that included a residence.  A couple of yr later, the husband moved in, and numerous 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,

Decide Valerie L Smith, made numerous 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 based mostly 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 components ought to have been thought of.

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

Notably vital 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 had been marital earnings.  Right now, the husband was trying to start out a enterprise.  The truth that he was in the end unsuccessful didn’t imply that her earnings weren’t a part of the marital property.

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

The appeals courtroom additionally reviewed a decrease courtroom order by which the husband had been granted sanctions in opposition to the spouse’s legal professional.  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 Decide Frank G. Clement, Jr.

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

See authentic opinion for actual language.  Authorized citations omitted.

To be taught extra, see Property Division in Tennessee Divorce.

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