Taking In Renters Not Ample Grounds to Drop Alimony to Zero

Tennessee alimony modification case abstract after 17 years married.

Deanna Lynn Akers v. Neil E. Powers

Former Spouse’s Taking In Renters Not Ample Grounds to Drop Alimony to Zero

When the husband and spouse on this Bradley County, Tennessee, case have been divorced in 2016 after about 17 years of marriage, the spouse was awarded $1100 per thirty days of alimony in futuro.  About three years later, the husband made a petition to terminate the alimony.  The trial courtroom, Decide Lawrence Howard Puckett, agreed and reduce off the alimony.  The trial courtroom additionally gave the husband a judgment for the overpaid quantity.  The spouse disagreed and appealed to the Tennessee Courtroom of Appeals.

The husband had introduced proof of his altering employment and the spouse’s cohabitation with each a paramour and renters.   The trial courtroom had dominated that the spouse’s month-to-month want was zero, attributable to her receiving Social Safety and having renters.  The decrease courtroom additionally primarily based its ruling on the husband’s declining well being and incapacity to pay attributable to lack of retirement funds.

The appeals courtroom started its have a look at the case by noting that factual findings of a trial courtroom are presumed to be right until the proof preponderates in opposition to them.  It additionally famous that the occasion in search of a change has the burden of proof to point out substantial and materials modified circumstances.

The appeals courtroom famous that within the case of cohabitation, the burden of proof shifts to the alimony recipient to point out that she nonetheless has an ongoing want.  However on this case, the appeals courtroom held that this was improper to contemplate.  On this case, the trial courtroom had been conscious of the cohabitation when it initially awarded alimony, so there was no change of circumstances.

The appeals courtroom agreed that the presence of renters would possibly change the spouse’s want.  Nonetheless, there was no proof to point out that the hire earnings introduced the spouse’s want right down to zero.  For instance, whereas the spouse had taken in renters after the divorce, there was no proof that there have been renters on the time of listening to.

Upon reviewing the proof, the appeals courtroom concluded that the spouse had a necessity, even with rental earnings.  It referred to as her present monetary circumstances dire, and that she did have some want for alimony.

The appeals courtroom agreed that the husband’s skill to pay the unique $1100 might need been in query, however that it shouldn’t have been diminished to zero primarily based upon the proof.  For that motive, it reversed the decrease courtroom’s ruling and remanded the case for additional proceedings.

The appeals courtroom’s opinion was penned by Decide Kristi M. Davis.

No. E2021-01028-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. July 19, 2022).

See unique opinion for precise language.  Authorized citations omitted.

To study extra, see Alimony Modification in Tennessee Law | How to Modify Alimony and our video, How is alimony decided in Tennessee?