In my practice as a divorce lawyer here in Middle Tennessee, I find a lot of clients don’t want to be bothered with listing out specific property, or taking the time (and paying the attorney fees) to go over it in detail with their attorneys. Sometimes, when parties don’t really have much together and have already separated it is best to keep your MDA vague. However, if you chose to be very specific in your property, make sure you think it through thoroughly. As a divorce attorney in Tennessee, the new Court of Appeals opinion in Landis brings this point home: Here, Husband was granted a boat, but since he was not specifically granted the trailer it was sitting on he could not get contempt charges for Wife’s refusal to let him take the trailer since it was not specifically listed on the itemized property list. Although Husband was still able to correct the issue through the court, civil contempt is a very useful tool in enforcing a decree, and it would have been much easier for everyone if the trailer had been specifically listed. The Wife of course had also been interfering with Husband’s removal of additional property, so she was found in contempt on other grounds and the award of attorney fees was upheld, but sometimes it is best to spend the hour going over these things with your attorney and paying that bill than possibly getting stuck forking out four times that amount for an enforcement motion.
To read the Landis opinion, click HERE or cut and paste the TBA link below:
Morgan Smith is a Tennessee Divorce Attorney based out of Nashville, Tennessee. To set up a consultation to discuss your contested or uncontested Tennessee divorce, contact our law office at (615) 852-5028.