Tennessee case abstract on jurisdiction over actual property in divorce.

Fatma Adel Sekik v. Nehad Abdelnabi, et al.

Divorce Courtroom has Jurisdiction Over Gaza Strip Actual Property

The spouse on this Knox County, Tennessee, case was from Cairo, Egypt, and the husband was from Palestine.  They married in Egypt and moved to the US the place that they had 4 youngsters.  The husband owned a enterprise as an electronics technician in Knoxville, and the spouse primarily took care of the house and kids.  She additionally did some work as a translator.

In 2012, the husband believed the spouse was having an affair with one other man, and was sentenced to 17 years for assault and kidnapping of that man.

The spouse filed for divorce and requested custody of the minor youngsters.  One contentious a part of the divorce was property situated within the Gaza Strip.  The husband had allegedly transferred this property to his members of the family.  The court docket ordered the husband to order these events to pay revenues from these properties on to the spouse.

In 2017, the spouse realized that the husband’s brother was making an attempt to promote the Gaza property beneath an influence of lawyer from the husband.  She made a movement for emergency reduction, and the trial court docket ordered the husband to execute a quitclaim deed, or the equal beneath Palestinian legislation, to switch the property to the spouse.

The spouse later amended her grievance so as to add the members of the family as defendants.  These have been mailed to their tackle in Georgia, and he or she additionally tried service by way of the Tennessee Secretary of State.  After they didn’t reply, she sought a default judgment for the $450,000 that they had allegedly acquired for the sale.  This judgment was entered in 2018.  After additional proceedings, a ultimate judgment was entered, which included parenting provisions and an award of alimony.  Because the husband was nonetheless in jail, the ultimate order specified that there could be no jail visits by the kids.  The husband, his brother, and sister-in-law then appealed to the Tennessee Courtroom of Appeals.

They raised numerous points, the primary of which was whether or not the court docket had material jurisdiction over points involving the Gaza property.  The appeals court docket zeroed in on the truth that the property in query was, certainly, a part of the marital property.  The order in query didn’t purport to put aside the switch of the property.  It merely ordered the events to pay to the spouse the quantity realized from the sale of that property.  The court docket famous that the spouse was merely being paid for the asset, and that no person disputed that it was a marital asset.

The court docket then turned to the query of non-public jurisdiction over the non-spouse events.  The appeals court docket famous that the problem boiled right down to whether or not they had ample contacts with Tennessee, and whether or not they have been personally served.  Underneath Tennessee legislation, a tortious act or omission throughout the state is ample to assist the required minimal contacts.

On this case, such an allegation was contained within the grievance.  As well as, that they had filed a counterclaim and cross-claim in opposition to the events, with out making an objection as to jurisdiction.  Underneath these circumstances, the appeals court docket held that private jurisdiction was glad.

On the deserves of the case, the appeals court docket agreed with the decrease court docket that the spouse had established a conspiracy explanation for motion in opposition to the family.  For instance, the brother testified that he acquired concerned within the property transaction solely as a result of he knew the divorce was pending.  After rigorously analyzing the proof, the Courtroom of Appeals agreed with the decrease court docket’s ruling.

The Courtroom of Appeals additionally analyzed the proof concerning the valuation of the marital property and concluded that the decrease court docket’s decision was acceptable.

After analyzing a variety of different points within the case, the Courtroom of Appeals, in an opinion penned by Decide J. Steven Stafford, affirmed the decrease court docket’s judgment in all respects.

No. E2019-01302-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Nov. 18,  2020).

See unique opinion for precise language.  Authorized citations omitted.

To be taught extra, see The Tennessee Divorce Process: How Divorces Work Start to Finish.

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

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