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House Marital Property Despite Being Bought Before Marriage

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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.  While they had been nonetheless relationship, the spouse bought a four-acre property that included a residence.  About a 12 months later, the husband moved in, and varied enhancements had been made.  At one level, the events signed an agreement 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 court docket,

Judge 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.  The appeals court docket first famous that the problem was a truth query which might be reviewed de novo, with no presumption of correctness.

The decrease court docket had based mostly its resolution 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.  But 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.

Particularly necessary was the truth that the events had used the property as their marital residence.  Also, despite the fact that the spouse used her earnings to pay the mortgage, these had been marital earnings.  At this time, the husband was making an attempt to begin a enterprise.  The proven fact that he was in the end unsuccessful didn’t imply that her earnings weren’t a part of the marital property.

Since the property was a marital asset, the Court of Appeals held that the decrease court docket would want to make the choice its disposition.  For that motive, it remanded the case to the decrease court docket to equitably divide your entire property.

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

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

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

See unique opinion for precise language.  Legal citations omitted.

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

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