11 Jun 2012

TN Law: Alimony Not Forever if Wife Can Get Training | 12 Yr Marriage

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Tennessee law case summary on alimony following a 12 year marriage in Tennessee divorce and family law from the Tennessee Court of Appeals.  Alimony in futuro trial court award vacated.

Stephen Todd Mays v. Melissa Gail Mays

In this case, the husband, Stephen Todd Mays appealed the decision of a trial court in its determination of the amount he must pay in alimony in futuro, the amount of child support payments, the amount of his income and the denial of the husband’s tax records into the case.

The husband and the wife, Melissa Gail Mays were married for 12 years and had one minor child. The husband filed for divorce in February of 2008. The wife filed several motions seeking temporary alimony and child support, as well as exclusive use of the marital residence. The court granted the wife possession of the marital home pending a final hearing and required the husband to maintain the parties’ indebtedness and living expenses. It also provided for visitation and the husband to pay $225 per week in pendente lite support.

In addition, the wife filed two petitions for contempt charging the husband with civil and criminal contempt and alleging that husband filed to make support payments including marital debts, which caused utility services to cease at the home.

The trial court provided the wife received the divorce on grounds of inappropriate marital conduct and named the wife as the primary residential parent. The husband was to pay child support of $225 per week, $17,727.30 in alimony in solido, and $225 per week as alimony in futuro.

The appeal of the husband was due to numerous factors including his monthly income. The court said that the husband’s income amounted to at least $8,000 per month. He disputed this claim and presented proof that he is self-employed and runs a construction, maintenance and repair business. His tax return for 2007 showed he grossed $110,241 with a gross profit of $52,293. He noted that the bank statement shows he deposited more money into the account than he claimed to have earned. The appeal court found that, based on evidence from all documented forms, including the 2008 tax forms, that his income was accurate by the lower court.

In terms of supposal support, the husband appealed saying the trial court abused its discretion in awarding the wife alimony in futuro because he believed his wife could be rehabilitated through additional education and training. The wife claimed she could rehabilitated and would like to do so but the cost was prohibitive. As such, the appeals court ruled that there is evidence that the alimony in futuro award should be vacated and remanded for a determination of amount and length of time to award rehabilitative alimony. This does not mean alimony would not be available but rather that the husband would not have to continue to supply owe alimony after the wife had enough time to be rehabilitated.

Court of Appeals of Tennessee At Nashville, Appeal from the Circuit Court for Wilsom County, No. 6281DVC, Clara W. Byrd, Judge.

Disclaimer: See original opinion for exact language. Legal citations omitted.

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 modification.

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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