Tennessee case summary after divorce.
The husband and wife in this Shelby County, Tennessee, case were divorced in 2005 and executed a marital dissolution agreement. Among other things, the agreement provided that the husband must maintain a life insurance policy of $150,000 naming the son as beneficiary. He also agreed to other provisions relating to the insurance.
By 2019, the husband had moved to another county, and the wife and son brought a civil action in Shelby County. The husband argued that the case was barred by the 10-year statute of limitations. The trial court disagreed, and ordered the husband to take out the insurance policy. The wife and son were also awarded attorney’s fees. The husband then appealed to the Tennessee Court of Appeals.
After addressing some procedural issues, the court turned to the statute of limitations. The trial court had held that the husband breached the marital dissolution agreement, a contract, and that the action had been filed within six years of the breach.
However, the appeals court noted that the breach, if any, occurred in 2005, since the husband had failed to provide copies of his will, as provided for in the agreement.
The wife and son argued that the obligations under the contract were continuing, and that additional breaches took place at a later date. But the appeals court held that the agreement was not severable, and therefore the later “continuing breach” would not resurrect the cause of action.
Since the plaintiffs didn’t file the case until 14 years after the breach, the case was barred by the six-year contract statute of limitation.
For these reasons, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s judgment and assessed the costs of appeal against the wife and son. The court’s opinion was penned by Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II, and Judges J. Steven Stafford and Carma Dennis McGee joined.
No.W2019-01925-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Aug. 9, 2021).
See original opinion for exact language. Legal citations omitted.
To learn more, see The Tennessee Divorce Process: How Divorces Work Start to Finish.
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