Tennessee case abstract on lawyer’s charges for enforcement after divorce.

Samuel Lee Bachelor, Jr. v. Aja Michele Bachelor n/k/a Aja Michele Burrell

The husband and spouse on this Shelby County, Tennessee, case have been married in Puerto Rico in 2010.  They’d no kids and separated in 2017.  They entered right into a marital dissolution settlement, and this was integrated into their 2019 divorce decree.

The spouse was awarded half of the worth of the husband’s retirement account, and had provisions associated to medical health insurance, which had beforehand been coated by the husband’s employer.  The husband was additionally ordered to take care of a life insurance coverage coverage naming the spouse because the beneficiary and supply proof of protection to the spouse on an annual foundation.

Later that 12 months, the spouse filed a movement for contempt on the grounds that the husband had failed to obtain the insurance coverage coverage and supply proof of protection.  She additionally alleged that he failed to supply documentation required concerning the pension plan.  She additionally requested for lawyer’s charges of $3,500.

The trial court docket, Decide James F. Russell, denied the movement for contempt.  Whereas the court docket discovered that there had been no compliance, the failure to supply the paperwork in a well timed method was not willful or intentional.  The spouse then appealed to the Tennessee Court docket of Appeals.

On enchantment, the spouse pointed to a provision of the marital termination settlement that known as for lawyer’s charges for any breach or noncompliance.  She argued that this provision managed, whatever the husband’s intent.

The appeals court docket agreed.  It known as the contract provision concerning lawyer charges to be clear and unambiguous, because it known as for an award of charges to the “non-defaulting” occasion.  The spouse hadn’t defaulted on the settlement in any manner, so she was entitled to her charges.

The spouse additionally requested for her charges for the enchantment.  The court docket cited an earlier case holding that if the settlement is legitimate and enforceable, then it included the lawyer’s charges on enchantment as properly.

For these causes, the Court docket of Appeals reversed the trial court docket’s order and remanded the case.  On remand, the decrease court docket was ordered to compute the quantity of the spouse’s lawyer charges for the enchantment.

No. W2020-00516-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Jan. 21,  2021).

See unique opinion for precise language.  Authorized citations omitted.

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