24 May 2012

Case summary on Tennessee alimony law and pension division of marital property in Tennessee divorce and family law from the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

William N. Nusbaum v. Lucile E Nusbaum – Tennessee Alimony Appeal

William Nusbaum, the husband, and Lucile Nusbaum, the wife were married in 1994 and had no children. The wife has a high school education and has worked in the mortgage industry. The husband has a college-level degree and worked for the federal government. The husband filed for divorce in 2009 and the wife counter claimed the divorce. The issue brought forth to the court in the appeal is that of the amount of award received by the court from the husband’s federal retirement benefits, transitional alimony and denial of the attorney’s fees request for the wife.

The appeal court affirmed the award of $500 provided per month for transitional alimony, though it extended those benefits beyond the original 12 month span to be awarded until the time of the husband’s retirement. The court also affirmed the original decision to not require the husband to pay attorney’s fees for the wife. It did find error in the decision made by the lower court about the husband’s FERS classification as marital assets and this is where the changes occur.

The Federal Employee Retirement Service pension dates back prior to the marriage of the two though the portion determined as marital property is in question by the wife. The initial court valued the FERS pension at $328,341.31 with $138,724.20 classified as marital assets. It awarded one half of the marital portion to each. The wife argues that the court erred in the portion of the FERS pension it classified as marital assets. The wife states that the proper calculation would result in the marital portion being $230,429.93 which she believes she should earn half of.

Robert Jennings, a Pension Appraiser working for the husband in the previous case, provided the initial findings as an expert witness. The court noted the errors in the calculations and determined that 3,316 days of the total FERS days occurred during the marriage. The court believed that early retirement earnings of six years are missing from this calculation. As a result, the court found the total amount classified as marital portion should be $230,429.93 which each party should receive half of as a result. The calculations of the expert witness did not take into account the additional early retirement years not yet added to the account.

February 5, 2012, Appeal from the Circuit Court for Sumner County, NO 83CC12009CV1008, C.L. Rogers, Judge.

Memphis divorce lawyer, Miles Mason, Sr., JD, CPA practices family law exclusively and is founder of the Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC, which handles Tennessee family law matters including divorce, child support, alimony, prenuptial agreements, child custody, parental relocation, child support modification, and alimony modificationDisclaimer: See original opinion for exact language. Legal citations omitted.

Miles Mason


Memphis divorce and family lawyer, Miles Mason, Sr. is the founder of Miles Mason Family Law Group, PLC. For more information about our professional staff, see our Meet the Team page.


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