Ballard v. Ballard, No. M2008-00713-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Jan. 21, 2009).

Inflicting Hearth Doesn’t Depend as a Substantial Contribution and Property Stays Different Partner’s Separate Property

Earlier than he met his future spouse, Mr. Ballard bought a house in his personal identify for $81,000.  The identical yr he started courting Mrs. Ballard, he paid off the primary mortgage on his house in full and obtained a second mortgage.  After the events married, Mr. Ballard paid the second mortgage, utilities, property taxes, and home-owner’s insurance coverage from a private checking account that he maintained individually from his spouse.  Whereas the events had been married, Mrs. Ballard and her little one from one other marriage induced two main fires in Mr. Ballard’s house.  The home-owner’s insurance coverage obtained by Mr. Ballard coated the substantial repairs wanted after each of the fires.  Whereas Mrs. Ballard admitted to paying nothing in direction of the mortgage, she used revenue from little one help and numerous part-time jobs to purchase wanted gadgets for the household and “issues for the home.”

When the events divorced, the trial courtroom held that the house was Mr. Ballard’s separate property.  The trial courtroom additionally held that Mrs. Ballard was entitled to 40% of the $50,000 appreciation of the house from the date of the wedding till the date of the divorce decree.  The trial courtroom, nonetheless, deducted cash from Mrs. Ballard’s $20,000 award as a result of she stole Mr. Ballard’s bank card to make unauthorized purchases and fraudulently solid checks on Mr. Ballard’s checking account.  The trial courtroom took additional deductions for repairs on the home made by Mr. Ballard after the couple separated.  Mrs. Ballard appealed the trial courtroom’s determination, claiming that the holding was misguided in its calculations of her fairness within the marital residence and deductions for bank card expenses and solid checks. The Tennessee Courtroom of Appeals reversed the holding of the trial courtroom and located that Mrs. Ballard made no vital contributions to the appreciation of Mr. Ballard’s house.  In a strongly worded opinion, the courtroom famous that “[Mrs. Ballard’s] solely ‘contributions’ had been contributing to 2 fires on the house, inflicting roughly $200,000 in harm, and contributing to the house’s filthiness by bringing two pot-bellied pigs into the house.”  Accordingly, the courtroom awarded Mr. Ballard the total worth of the appreciation of the house.

This publish is a part of a sequence, Appreciation of Separate Property: The Forensic Accountant’s Full Employment Act.

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